This is my humble collection of attempting to live a life full of lovely things. A blog highlighting crafty projects, inspiration, and all things delicate & detailed. To learn more click here.

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Here is a peek of my lovely wedding day! We were married July 20, 2008 in the gorgeous Black Hills of South Dakota. Find more images and details about my incredible wedding day on Style Me Pretty.


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prepper themed 30th birthday party

My husband turned 30 earlier this year! And as you can see, I chose a slightly unusual theme for his birthday bash. Because I love a good creative challenge. And those that know him know this theme is oh so fitting.

What is a prepper you ask? It is an individual or group preparing for armageddon—in whichever form it comes. Common preparations in case of but not limited to natural disasters, chemical or nuclear war, economic collapse, global pandemic, and oppressive government.

Above right is staged a look out tower (so you can see the enemy far out) and a generator for power outages.

The party favors were mini fire starter kits in plastic test tubes. You. Never. Know.

Scattered around were these mylar bags (for long term food storage) that I labeled with titles such as "dehydrated ammo" and "dehydrated razorwire".

Weapons cache is a total must.

Other details include the canned food stacks, military trunks stacked as food tables, a jar of crisco as the birthday candle (which would burn for 45 DAYS), and bbq sauces labeled Pandemic Sweet Heat & Radioactive Hickory Smoke. Overall, the cost was relatively low (we owned most of the "decor") but the challenge was taking the theme from concept to party elements.

Does anyone know a conspiracy theorist that would appreciate this party? Too weird or kinda fun? If anything there is credit for ingenuity, right?!

1st & 3rd image by me, all other photography by Dustin Davis


10 year high school reunion

It is the week of anniversaries. Currently, I'm away traveling to my 10 Year High School Reunion. It's safe to say, I'm the ONLY person I know who LOVES this kind of thing. And I have no idea why.

Above are the reunion invites I designed for the shindig. Yes, our mascot was the camel. In the middle of Wyoming—this makes perfect sense.

I love how non-stodgy they turned out because most reunions are pretty boring, right? Originally, at the top I had the line "It's time to procrastinate, start some drama, stereotype, and judge your classmates" and then on the bottom "Reminisce on the days before instant streaming, Facebook, vegans, and Beber fever" because I thought/think these were/are hilarious. Both lines were cut. A little too much honesty I suppose.

While digging threw my memory box, I found these classic Throw-Back-Thursday treasures. Apparently I loved collages and quotes, along with snowboarding and stiff senior poses. Oh, nostaliga I heart thee.

Do I have any reunion sympathizers out there? Or haters?

I had so much fun with the reunion invites, I added them to my Etsy shop. In case any future reunion committee members emerge from this post.


5 years

Happy Monday! This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our five year anniversary. Hard to believe.

And I finally had photographs printed. That's right. It took me FIVE YEARS to print my wedding photos. Which is a terrible shame, especially when I had a gorgeous album made by Priscilla Foster (the same year we married). Take a peek at her handmade books, they are incredible.

Awe to reminince on young love. It's a bit surreal, where sometimes I feel as though just a few months ago we said vows to one another—yet the last five years have also felt like most of my life. Crazy to think you could love someone more now than the day you said "I do". But it's true. His face is still my favorite face.


my outdoor patio space

While my backyard was spiffed up (for our tour), I snapped a few photographs of our patio area. It all started when we moved in, beginning with our diy patio. Much has evolved over time but currently our space looks like this:

For kicks, let us peek at what this space looked like three years ago.

Obviously, we've crafted this space to feel like our own and it's now a highlight of living in our little bungalow. By sectioning off the yard into different areas, we feel like we actually have more space on the lot.

We love entertaing outdoors, and often have movie nights and bbq's throughout the summer. Even just my husband and myself relaxing after a long work day is wonderful.

Another (hopefully) short note. My insecurities too often prevent me from posting images like these. I fall prey to the expectations that my life "should" look a West Elm catalog. Partly because I believe I COULD style a West Elm catalog (don't kill my dream!), but mostly because it's human nature. Especially in our post Pinterest/Instagram world. CLEARLY I do not have a West Elm budget (or home or photographer), so why the unrealistic standards!?

A quote I find super helpful, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.” ~ Steve Furtick

I'm being intentional to do better. To not let comparison stifle my own creative sharing. How about you? Do you find you hold back because of expectations?


sustainable backyard beginner

This past weekend we participated in the St. Louis Sustainable Backyard Tour. About this time last year I posted about attending the tour. This year when I saw the tour needed more homes in our area, I figured "Hey we have a fun yard, especially one that would appeal to eco newbies". Many of the yards have solar panels, bees, wind turbines...ok maybe not turbines but they are intense!

Our yard offered 5 "beginner" steps towards a more sustainable backyard. The 1st is a standard rain barrel, that I desperately try to disguise with clusters of plants. Because though I love her, she is not a pretty lady.

The 2nd eco project we have is our bokashi compost, which many people were more interested in than I anticipated (and they label themselves granola!). Oh, you don't know about indoor composting? Shame on you (said in a very judgemental tone).

Number 3 & 4 were our upcycled furniture. The wine bottle torches are from the Design*Sponge tutorial, and still one of my favorite patio elements. The pallet table is my internet superstar—my Pinterest one hit wonder.


Lastly we have the 5th sustainable element—our sweet hens! Bonus is their coop is made from a doghouse we found on Craigslist. Someday I'll do a full post on how much I love these girls, but for now just a peek.

We certianly enjoyed the 5+ hours of conversating with 50+ strangers, in the crazy summer heat, but it was definitely exhausting. I do like showcasing a yard that appeals to people just starting to be interested in a green home. Sometimes the "greener" lifestyle feels intimidating or you wonder where to start, but these are just a few of the very practical & simple ways to start. And hopefully aesthetically appealing ones too!


selling flowers at the market

My goodness it's nice to post some real photos. Here's a glimpse of my May venture.

Gotta sneak in a before. That way the "afters" are more exciting.

Overall I'm not sure this was a profitable gig, BUT I did have fun being a part of the market community and more importantly I'll most likely get a few paid projects from the networking. So still a small success. Being self-employed, it's always a risk to take on new ventures and always always a learning curve.

It also doesn't hurt when a trendy girl exclaims, "This looks like the cover of Pinterest!" as she sees my table. I love myself a good ol' ego boost.

Have a great weekend everyone!


from winter to spring in stop motion

Posting this video was heavily debated in my head. It was so much cooler in theory! But I already made a few promises to share, so here's my first attempt at making a stop motion video. My front yard going from winter to spring:

A few things I learned. 1) I always forget that new undertakings take sooo much longer than I think they "should". 2) Photoshop CS6 makes it really easy to make stop motion (I didn't learn this until after 8 hours of wanting to throw my computer across the room). If you are wanting to give it a try, I recommend this 4 min tutorial. 3) Prepare to waste a lot of time searching endlessly for a little background music, only to end up at a hillbilly circus.

Music: River Valley Breakdown by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)


back once again {and a portland itinerary}

It is not lost on me that my profession of "back to regularly scheduled blogging" has become a broken record. But here I am again with more instagram photos of my recent shenanigans. 

I just got home from a relatively unplanned road trip from Oklahoma City to Portland (that's a lot of driving, folks). My former college roommate needed a driving buddy to get from OK to the Northwest, and I just so happen to be the perfect travel companion.

Below are a few photos and also a great itinerary if you find yourself in Portland for a few days.

If you have two full days you won't regret these activities:

::: day one :::

- Start the day with a trip to Voodoo Doughnuts
- Next head on up to NW 23rd Street, where you can stroll along and visit all kinds of fun boutiques. We found some steal deals at Crossroads Trading Co. and you can grab lunch anywhere (we stopped at a McMenamins).
- Once you feel the drain of too much shopping, you are only a short drive to Powell's Books for relaxing read. If you're not shopped out yet, you are now conveniently located next to a few staples like West Elm and Jonathan Adler.
- For dinner, we headed over to the Alberta Arts District for some delicious tapas at Cruzroom. You won't be disappointed.

::: day two :::

- Start the day with a trip to Voodoo Doughnuts (haha kind of a joke...but kind of not)
- Our morning activity was a trip to peruse the Pittock Mansion. The amazing view of the city alone was worth it. The mansion was quaint and the grounds were a fun stroll too.
- Run into Bunk Sandwiches, grab a delious lunch and continue on to Mt Tabor Park for a picnic. (From Pittock to Mt Tabor takes you from one end of Portland to the other) Spend some time relaxing and conversating.
- Do not miss an afternoon stop at Salt & Straw. This ice cream is like no other, with seasonal rotations of sweetness.
- Another stop you must make is at Kennedy School. An elementary school converted to hotel/resturants/etc. I will make time to thoroughly explore this place again some day. So rad.
- Lastly, for dinner we ended the night at Tabor Tavern. It's a favorite of current resident/roomie, Mekala of Tie That Binds.

A busy few days but I loved ALL of it. Such a fun trip and I love my college roomies so much! Wish I could hang around those ladies more often! Anyone else have a favorite that I missed slash a must see for next time?!

All photos from my instagram, be sure to add @joyeverafter (me) to your feed! 


where has the time gone?

Last I knew—it was mid April, I was desperately awaiting spring weather, living in survival mode (potentially a bit depressed), uncertain of the future, and completely uninspired. Wow how life has changed.

May is nearly gone! I have 10 projects for the blog (that are only halfway done), life is running on full steam, the calendar is quickly filling up, my husband accepted a full time job (only temporary), and I'm scrambling to throw together a 30th birthday party for him. Sheesh!

Since I last posted, it's been mostly work, a little play, and LOTS of flowers. I've got 3 weeks of selling flowers at the Farmer's Market under my belt....oh, what a learning curve new projects are. Such is life!

Hoping to finish up those blog projects soon and get back to regular posting. How about you? Did life get crazy busy for you when the nice weather hit?

All photos from my instagram, be sure to add @joyeverafter (me) to your feed! 


inspiration comes from ::: the work of my hands

This blog has never been consistently stable for editorial content (like diy's and columns). It's never been all that great as a lifestyle blog either. I do not consider myself a writer, and much prefer looking at pretty photos to reading & writing. I've bounced around in my blog journey, unsure of my actual goals as a blogger.

Bluntly, this is my journal of life as a creative and my various projects. So I want to get down to brass tacks, and write a few posts about what motivates my heart from its very depths. Those small parts of life that truly cause a yearning to thrive from within, you know?

Every spring is a miracle to me. I chose to invest in my dirt because it was an eye sore. Little did I know that every year would emerge a new joy to wash over my soul.

Sickly winter twigs suddenly sprout the smallest beauty.

From rocks there arises new life. Like pure magic.

Each year I forget what to expect. You can find me outside just staring at the ground, waiting to catch a glimpse of something new. It's like the anticipation of Christmas, but completely different. Unexpected and faithful. Sporadic but sustained. A reflection of grace renewed.

Like any baker or builder, there is a mountain of gratification with a job well done. Do you have any insprirations that offer continual surprise?