Hosting Thanksgiving

This year, we bought a house. We were not planning to buy a house, but we got suckered in to this amazing deal. We add that last part to help us not feel like we were crazy for moving from the perfect studio apartment into a 3 bedroom house.  Continue reading

Should you open an Etsy shop?

Recently, I have had a few friends ask me if they should open an Etsy shop. I have summed up my thoughts about Etsy below, to try to help out those who are wondering if it is worth it.

  1. Do you want to sell things you have made? Yes, open a shop.
  2. Will you sell something? Maybe. But still, open a shop and then market yourself. Etsy is made up of reportedly 1.6 millions sellers. If you want to be noticed by anyone at all, you have to market yourself
    1. Instagram – free and easy marketing. Understand hashtags and use a public account.
    2. Facebook – share, share, share.
    3. Pinterest – create a board and post your items there
    4. Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. So many platforms. Use them to your advantage.

Etsy is easy. It is not free. It costs money to post items, Etsy takes a cut when you make a sale, and of course, there are shipping fees. The great thing about this system though, is that you only get charged when you decide to post an item and when you happen to sell. Other sites, such as Squarespace, let you host products but have monthly fees. These can range from $10-$3o, even when you sell nothing.

You also have to know NOTHING about coding to open a shop and it will still look professional. If you have ever tried coding, you know this is a welcome relief that allows you to focus on your products and not your site.

Have I made a bunch of sales on Etsy? – No, but I have made more than I would’ve without starting a shop.

I also have my products at a local coffee shop, which has increased my Etsy traffic. Be patient and be persistent and look for ways to raise brand awareness. But definitely, if you are hoping to sell anything at all, open a shop.

How Skipping Church Affects Our Children

Truth with Love


In a Q&A, Carl Trueman was asked about why churches today are losing their young people. Typical answers to this question range from things like the temptations of this world or the irrelevance of the church–your typical answers. But Trueman makes a keen and convicting connection between our parenting and apostasy.

“The church is losing its young people because the parents never taught their children that it was important. I think that applies across the board. It applies to family worship, and it also applies to whether you are in church every Sunday and what priority you demonstrate to your children church has on a Sunday. If the sun shines out and their friends are going to the beach, do you decide to skip church and go to the beach? In which case, you send signals to your children that it is not important.” (Carl Trueman)

Now we know that artificially taking…

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New Tea Towel Designs

It has been sometime since I posted anything. My excuses listed below.

  1. bought a house
  2. started working a new job
  3. freelance work landed on my plate
  4. traveled

Thankfully, my life does not depend on blog posts. However, I was finally able to get my tea towels back out and make some new designs and write a post about them.

Etsy shops tend to do well when items can be personalized – baby and wedding items tend to be the top sellers. After some research and trial and error, I found a way to create customized designs in Adobe Illustrator and transfer them to a tea towel. These products actually turned out great (in my opinion) and took half the time of my hand-painted towels (which are still fun to make too :)).

These tea towels are perfect for wedding gifts or friend gifts for a special occasion. In addition to being great for drying glass, check out this creative list, from apartment therapy for ideas on tea towel usage.

Head on over to Machten to take a look!

Friends and Food

inside the house
meat and cheese on a slate tray

Getting together with friends can prove challenging sometimes. Where to meet, when to meet, and what to do are hard questions to answer when you are synchronizing 3 schedules. We finally decided on a date which left where and what. After discussing places to eat I decided to ask my friends to come over to my place. Simple grilled cheese sandwiches were the cuisine of choice. The weather has been rainy and cool and there is nothing like comfort food on a chilly day! We used a raclette so that everyone could make there own sandwiches. I laid out a spread of meat and cheese and baked some no-knead bread. My friends brought over some meal supplements – tea, chips and artichoke dip, and cookies. Raclette, in the simplest explanation, is a clean version of fondue. We enjoyed sitting around the raclette grill, talking and laughing, while we waited for our bread to toast and cheese to melt. It was the perfect way to catch up and feed our hungry stomachs.

inside the house
homemade bread

Local Living

My husband Tory and I have been living in eastern PA for about a year and a half. When we first moved here we mostly shopped in chain stores because we knew what we could find there and we usually were short on time to explore new options, though we would often talk about how we could eat local, farm fresh food. Now that I am not working a regular full-time job, I have been able to take some time to find local places to enjoy.
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Event Design – Weddings

Event planning is overwhelming because there are so many factors and variables to consider. The first time that I faced this challenge on a grand scale was for my DIYBrit and Tory - Pittsburgh Wedding - 608 wedding. My family put together big Christmas parties so I was used to doing a lot of work for a celebration, but this time, I was in charge. (cue panic). It would have been a lot easier to have an event planner, elope, or find a destination where you show up and all of the work is done. However, I thoroughly enjoyed planning and designing my wedding from start to finish.

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Entertaining in a small space

My husband and I live in one of the most expensive counties in Pennsylvania. The houses here are beautiful and full of history. Town homes and stone farmhouses paint the town and landscapes around us. As lovely as it is, it does provide a large problem. High rent. For a young couple starting out, it was a little stressful at times. This past year however, we were greatly blessed when a couple from our church offered us an apartment above their garage. A few months later, we called the place home.

It is a studio loft. About the size of a typical European apartment, we say we are practicing for the day we might get to move to Austria. It is the kind of dreamy spot you would find in a upscale or hip part of a trendy city. We are not living in a trendy city, for sure, but we are in a fun, little (almost non-existent) town. Continue reading