February 2, 2016

Now Offering Mini Sessions Locally!

Hello, guys!!
I wanted to quickly let any local readers know that I'll be offering mini photography sessions for kids' Valentine's photos this weekend! I'm shooting right here in my home, so if you live in or near Kokomo, IN I'd love to work with you! I am open to scheduling later dates, too, if you need.
Since you guys are my blog readers, and I always overshare with you, I'm going to say that I normally HATE charging for photos, and this idea actually terrifies me. Shooting for friends is no big deal because if you mess up, they still love you. But for the public?  **faints** However! Paige and I are trying to earn some money to fly back to see my mom in a couple of months, so we thought this might be a good way. :O) It's so weird to think that I haven't seen my mom in almost a year. That's never happened in my life! I know I'm spoiled, people go that long (and much longer!) without seeing family all of the time, but with all the heartache my mom has been through this last year, I just really need to hug her in real life. That's actually the whole reason we launched Joy Medley a little earlier than we planned. So thanks also to everyone for supporting us that way!

So! Yes! Photos. Since Valentine's day is coming up on us fairly soon, I'll do my best to get all your edited images sent to you within 48 hours, so that you can get them printed right away!

Thank you!!
Have a good day!! Love you!

January 30, 2016

DIY: No-Sew Felt Heart Garlands

It's Valentine's Day soon! Yay! Pink day!! I whipped up these little felt garlands for a project I'm working on at home, and I thought I would just share the how-to while I'm at it! So here ya go!

Scalloped Heart Garland
  • Print heart patterns at full size
  • Cut out heart patterns, pin to felt, and cut out.
  • Hot glue twine or other sturdy string to the top third of the scalloped heart.
  • Glue smaller heart on top. 
  • Continue until all your hearts are glued, about 3" apart.

Puffy Heart Garland

  •  Print small heart pattern and cut out two felt hearts per puffy heart.
  • Hot glue string to top third of one felt heart. 
  • Glue a small ball of stuffing in the middle of the heart.
  • Carefully glue the second felt heart on top.
  • Tie a knot on the side of the heart, add a pony bead, then tie another knot on the other side of the bead. Add another bead about 2.5"-3" away from the first heart. 
  • Repeat for as many hearts as you'd like!

I had originally planned on sharing an edible tutorial that I've had in my head for like a year, but I can't find the ingredient that I was going to use over here in the midwest. Besides, who am I kidding, I'm so not a food blogger. haha. And like I said in a previous post, it's tough to do a dessert tutorial when you're eating no sugar.

Oh! Guys! Update on that? Eating no sugar is literally the best thing in the world. It's been a month now, and my energy level is through the roof! I'm not playing, I feel like a completely different person. Actually, I feel like I'm...me. Like the person I used to be, had always been, until I wasn't. You know what I'm saying? I had originally planned to go two months without sugar, but after feeling this difference, there is no way I'm going back after February. (I feel like I'm trying to sell a diet pill right now, but seriously!!) I can definitely see God working in this, because the timing is just magical. I don't think I would have been able to find the motivation or endurance to start Joy Medley without this change in my health.
Speaking of that, thank you so much for your support so far! You guys are giving us the strength and encouragement we need to make this work, and I am so, so grateful to you. You've always been so kind, I just really like you a lot. I'm pretty sure I have the best blog readers of any blog out there, but don't tell the others!  Anyways, I have a feeling in my gut that this business is going to be successful, and you guys will always have a special place in my heart as our first customers and supporters. :) And shoutout to Lindsay, who was our first customer ever!!! She'll be a celebrity at our "headquarters" (ok craft room, but someday it'll be a headquarters!) forever.

Ok, I have to go, but I love you! See you soon.

January 25, 2016

Introducing: Joy Medley!!

 It's here!!! It's finally the day! I can't believe we're really doing this. Eep! I told you that my mom and I were working on a little business, and I can finally say that we're open!!! Joy Medley is our brand new line of unique, fun, and completely handmade necklaces for girls ages 7-14. I'm so excited I could cry. I have been dreaming of this for so long! Paige and I have noticed a shocking lack of unique, fashionable, on-point jewelry out there for younger girls. She loves to raid my statement necklace stash to accessorize, but my necklaces are always too long, and sometimes lack that youthful style that she wants. Then my mom and I were like: "Hey. We could fix that." And we did! And we've had such a blast!!

A little bit about our brand:
Joy Medley is named after my late sister, Nissa Joy ("Joy" for most of her adult life) who taught us everything we know about jewelry making. Beading and making jewelry was one of her greatest passions in life, and she was extraordinarily talented at it. Not a single piece in this collection was created without thoughts and memories of her. The second half of our name, "Medley", represents our fun and eclectic mix of designs and styles, aimed at girls with all kinds of tastes.

"For Girls With Heart"
Our tagline, "For Girls With Heart" expresses our brand's love of charity and generosity. (A value we know also resides in the hearts of our young customers!) That is why all profits from the sales of our very special "HOPE" bow necklace are donated to the Orphan's Lifeline, Int'l, a beautiful charity organization that reaches out to help orphaned children all over the world. This is just the beginning of our focus on giving back, and we look forward to expanding that in the future, with your help!

Each necklace is lovingly and carefully made by hand in my craft room or my mom's. Paige is our secret intel specialist, who helps us create designs that girls her age will love. She even occasionally helps string some beads, so it is really a three-generation effort. :O) Our focus is on quality over quantity, so make sure you snatch up your favorites before someone else gets them!

Free US Shipping!
We want our brand to be synonymous with generosity, and since free shipping always makes our heart skip a beat, we want to pass that on to all our dear friends and customers. Because we love you!! So happy birthday to you!

We are working on getting our own website (it's gonna be awesome, you guys!) but for now you can shop the spring collection on Esty at JoyMedleyShop. So have fun browsing our spring lookbook (at the top of this post-dont forget to make it fullscreen!), and our Etsy store! You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter (@shopjoymedley) and Instagram (@joymedley) Please feel free to spread the word to any friends who might be interested! Your support means the world to us.

Love you so much, lovelies!! Have an awesome day!!
Disney + Brenda (Mom)

January 20, 2016

Snow Day!

Well, today was a magical unicorn day.
Paige's favorite thing ever is snow, and today we got enough white stuff to go sledding at the park! Ace goes to preschool at our church for a few hours a week and Paige and I usually make that our "together time", whend we go do something fun together. Today it was sledding! I have to admit, I didn't really want to go, because I'm an old person and I don't like getting all wet and cold. But it wasn't too cold after all, and I had so much fun!! We were having a blast, when half way through the sun came out, and it turned our snowy field into a sparkling white heaven. Tiny flakes were fluttering down lightly, like God was shaking a tube of glitter down on us. It was basically the best thing you can ever experience. I felt like I was in Narnia you guys, it was that magical. I tried to snap photos with my phone to share it with you, but they don't even come close to what it was like.
I'm so grateful for days like this!

Love you,

January 14, 2016

Humble Beginnings

You know how when you move, there is always that room that just gets dumped on, so that the other rooms can get set up and organized? That's been my craft room for the last several months. But today, I cleaned it! I feel so triumphant, you guys!! I did the thing! There is a lot of work to be done to it still, but overall I plan to keep it pretty simple. I love the look of cute craft spaces with adorable little things all around, but I think I feel more inspired when there isn't a lot going on around me.
Why am I cleaning it? I mean, besides my dignity? Well...

Remember about this time last year, when my mom and I decided to start a business that would honor my sister and help us work through our grief, keep us close after I moved so far away, and bring a little fun back into our lives? You guys even bought all those little bracelets to help fund our startup. (Thank you again!!) We had such awesome plans. We had most of our supplies purchased, business cards and website designed, I even had some of the product shots modeled and edited! We were so close, and so excited. But then another bomb dropped in my mom's life (and mine) and it was just. Too much. Too much heartbreak, too much emotion to work through. Too much to ask to push through with all our plans. We just stopped, we sort of froze. I'm sorry I didn't explain at the time why we didn't ever open up shop.
Some time has passed, and I've been so proud of my mom. She has endured like a...not like a champion...more like a wounded soldier. Like a hero. She is facing this strange new life with such bravery and endurance. And for better or worse, I think we're going to try to give this business thing another try. We're not sure if that means that we're persistent, or just stupid, haha. (It's hard to know what to do, when Pinterest is simultaneously telling you: "stop knocking on the door God has closed" and "Never stop trying!") We're going to have to start out with smaller fireworks than we first planned, but many great things have come from humble beginnings.

So look for our humble beginnings very soon!

Love you, :O)

January 9, 2016

Jesus and Sugar

Before I start on today's post, I wanted to address a little thing. :O) You guys know I love God, because I talk about it sometimes, and I'm a preacher's wife, so there's that. Over the last year or so, after losing my sister and, in a way, my family in general, I've really come to love my God so much more. So that's been coming out when I write, and it will continue to, hopefully, forever! I recently changed the words under "Ruffles & Stuff" to include "Jesus" and I lost about 250 followers in a day or two. Maybe that's a coincidence? But just in case, I just wanted to be up front about the fact that God will be here on my blog, whenever I feel like talking about Him. I know that the name of Jesus offends and irritates some people, so I say this with absolutely and sincerely ALL the love in my heart:
 Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Jesus up and down, Jesus all around up in here. Because I LOVE Him!!!!

So now that's out there, my dears! :O)

Moving on.
I decided to go off sugar for a couple of months. Isn't that crazy? This is how it's going so far... :o)

I remember last month just before Christmas having a casual conversation with God about how I just cannot stop eating sugar. (Rabbit trail: Most of my conversations with God are like that, we just talk about things. Or I do. He mostly listens. Sometimes I pray formally, but most of the time it's just like: "Whoa, nice sunset tonight! Thanks for using so much pink." Is that how you guys pray? Sometimes I wonder if it's a little too casual, in light of His great power and supremacy, and, well, God-ness. But then, he is my Father...so. *end rabbit trail*) So this particular conversation went something like this: "Ugh. God. Why do I eat like this, I'm going to die! I feel really lazy for asking this, but, do You think You might be willing to just...help make it easier for me? Help me just not want to eat that stuff?" Then I kind of felt silly for even asking that, and we moved on to something else.
After Christmas, having forgotten all about our conversation, I decided I was going to not eat any sugar during January and February. I don't know why I chose two months, it just felt right. So no added sugar at all anywhere in the ingredient list, which means I pretty much can't eat out anywhere. Tears. (Why is there sugar in ALL french fries? WHY?) The only exception I allow myself is the little bit of sugar in my vanilla almond milk for my coffee, because a person has to live.

So, I started Jan. 1st, and the first two days-I'm not gonna lie-I literally ate nothing but Better Cheddars and 100% grape juice. I think I *might* have choked down a carrot out of guilt. I know juice is totally sugary, and it's not good to chug it by the gallon, but at least it wasn't soda. The next few days included a slightly more healthy and diverse palate, but were still drowned in fruit and fruit juice. But the amazing thing was, I wasn't really missing my coffee cake or cookies or strawberry pop tarts that I normally wake up thinking about. That amazed me! And then, about day 6 or so, I realized that I had gone almost all day without any juice. What?!
So today is day 9, and I hardly even think about sugar. I still drink a half glass of juice or so every day, but mostly I'm content with my normal, non-diabetes-inducing sustenance. Content. Without sugar. This is not at all how I expected this to go. I expected agony and suffering and hours on Pinterest, looking at pastries from Parisian bakeries. But then I remembered that I asked God for help a while ago! And I could have cried, because I realized how much He loves His little girl. She asks for the silliest things, and He smiles and says: "Sure."
I've lost 3-4 pounds, cool I guess, but the amazing thing is, I feel...I feel less sad? Is that a thing?

I'll have to keep you updated now and then about how it's going. Especially because I really wanted to create a little Valentine's treat tutorial soon that involves lots of sugar, so that will be a lovely little test! :O)

I hope your brand new year is going splendidly! 
I love you so much,


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