Introducing Lauren-Likes

Hi friends!! It has been a long time coming. After literally YEARS of trying to find the PERFECT blog name I finally have.


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I made the commitment to go a dot-com and I am over the moon excited about all the exciting things happening on my little corner of the internet.

It is still in its infant stages. It’s not very fancy and pretty yet, but it’s getting there. You can do all the important things: subscribe via email or RSS feed. Comment. Search. And Pin on Pinterest.

So as you are reading this *hopefully* This Handmade Circus will immediately bounce you over to Lauren-Likes. All the archives are there and all the pages and info you need are over there waiting on you to come click around! All the links seem to be working right and old posts are searchable. So please update your RSS feeds or resubsribe via email. (wordpress subscribers should automatically get rolled over). I can’t wait for some super fun things, one starting tomorrow, to start popping up over there! So let’s go be friends on a fun new site!

Also, are there any great plug-ins you WordPress users use that you love? Please share! If there is anything that you would really like to see the site have let me know in the comments over on Lauren-Likes!

Thanks for the fun This Handmade Circus!

Creative Conversations

17-IMG_4531 Hey friends! The so sweet Amelia is doing a series of interviews with creative people and I am so honored to be one of them! Amelia does Project Life also and lives in Singapore and I have been devouring every travel post she shares about Asia! You will really love her DIY inspiration and the fantastic quotes she shares regularly. You can go check out some of my scatter brained thoughts on getting inspired and why I make over on her blog. You will also learn a very strange fact about me! So go check it out! Read the interview here. If you’re new here, welcome! Stay awhile and let’s be friends! Id love for you to introduce yourself and share your blog in the comments. Here are links to a few of the projects mentioned or pictured in the interview:

Thanks for stopping by! And thank you so much Amelia for having me! If you want to have inspiration delivered right to you make sure you subscribe via email or a blog reader!

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!

At this moment I am on a much-needed backpacking trip in the great outdoors with friends to celebrate spring and the perfect camping weather! So, sadly I’m not able to participate in one of the possibly greatest days known to crafters: National Scrapbooking Day!! HUZZA! So, to celebrate, I thought I would share with you some of my all time favorite layouts. Most of these are from our Road Trip USA book (that’s still a work in progress). I hope they provide you some great inspiration if you are celebrating by making! So here’s to to honoring my scrapbooking ancestors…To Memory Keeping!

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Here at 196


As we are slowly packing up and parting ways with most of our material possessions, we are also saying goodbye to our wonderful home. I wanted to do a roundup of some photos from some of my favorite nooks and crannies of this lovely little place. Though we were only renters, we have more than fallen in love with this home and are sad to see it go. We’ve lived here 3 years and Terrell stayed here the first year he was commuting to and from grad school while still teaching back home.  Were also really sad to lose the space, man is this place huge for just the 2 of us!

These pictures were taken over the years for different reasons. It was honestly very difficult to find photos without people in them because our house has been so full of life the past 3 years. From constant small group hosting and dinners to multiple graduation parties to random Nicaragua group cookouts and game nights to far away friends and family sleeping on couches and floors. There were always laughter here and messes in my kitchen.  These photos only show the setting of the stage for some of the greatest moments of our lives. In the end I want to remember how hard I worked to make this place inviting and beautiful. But mostly I want to remember the life that we lived inside these walls.

So, in no order and with no edits, here is a small glimpse of the place we call home.crafts march 062


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3 Stress Free Travel Tips


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April is Stress Awareness Month and my goodness, I have been acutely aware of stress in my life lately, especially in reference to our upcoming travel plans! So, I’m sharing some of the tactics we use to reduce stress when it comes to travel. Feel free to add yours in the comments!

1. Take screenshots. We are so incredibly dependent on our phones and rightfully so! They are such a powerful work horse right in our palms! But! There is nothing worse than any these 3 things happening: you have no cell service, your phone dies or you can’t find the website you found 3 weeks ago when planning your trip. An easy solution: take screenshots. Take screenshots of maps, attraction addresses, details, restaurants, places you want to go or see, your itinerary, hotel address, ticket confirmations, etc. This way, you aren’t eating up your data (especially if you are out of the country), draining your battery or wasting time searching for a particular site. You can easily scroll through your photos and refer back to it as many times as necessary, this way you save your battery and data for those emergencies where you really are lost or really need to find the nearest gelato shop! Bonus: If you are a memory keeper, you’ll be able to remember the exact names of places you go or other particular data about sites you see!

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***To take a screenshot on your Iphone press the round home button at the same time as the ‘sleep’ button on top of your phone

2. Only have one scheduled event per day. Traveling is one of the most unpredictable situations we willingly put ourselves into. And it never plays out exactly as we plan. Flights get delayed. We get lost. Kids get tired. There is nothing more stressful than the feeling of running late and having no idea where you are going. Seriously, just thinking about it I feel a panic attack coming on. The best way to reduce stress and enjoy your travel is to have no more than 1 scheduled event per day. This in no way means do only 1 thing a day, just do only 1 thing on a timetable. If you buy tickets for a show, don’t also sign up for a guided tour that’s only a few hours before. The tour will run long and you’re antsy the whole time for it to hurry up and end and then it will end on the other side of town and you will have no idea how to get to the show from there and then the subway will be closed and you will really have to go to the bathroom and now you are really late for your really expensive show you were really looking forward to. And you’re hungry. So, when making your itinerary, pick one time sensitive activity to do each day, then plan your day around that. We always have a list of WAY more things to do than we will ever have time for. On purpose. If our scheduled event is on a certain side of town, then we will scour our list and find things that are on that side of town to do that day and we will do as many as possible until time for our scheduled event. These things are normally free and aren’t the most important thing we have to do, so no stressing if we only get 5 minutes there or don’t make it at all. Because, in the end, we went to our scheduled event, which was the most important thing to us, and we were on time and had plenty of time to enjoy it.


3. Pack a snack. This sounds like a no brainer, but when you don’t have your fridge or your local grocery store at arms reach it is much harder than it sounds. There is nothing worse than the hangries. Hunger makes people do and say terrible things they wouldn’t necessarily do otherwise. I remember as a child my father complaining to no end about how ‘eating was more expensive than the whole *%&% vacation”. Sound familiar?! Parents of small children are good about always having snacks on hand for little ones, but we often forget about ourselves. The people who can’t just pass out in a stroller and be wheeled around like a pharaoh….We never travel without a hearty supply of crackers, trail mix, snack bars and water. This reduces the hangries, excessive spending and frantic searching for somewhere to eat. This small bit of preparation allows for you to really seek out that authentic, hole in the wall, gem of a restaurant that your mouth will salivate over years later. Or else you’ll eat at a KFC. Please don’t do that, pack a snack.

Update: Dropcam is collecting a series of these tips and making an ultimate Stress Free Travel List. So go check out their ideas and add your own in! More here.


Life Lately

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Life lately has been really full. It has been very full. Almost too full. We agreed that our last few months we would say no as little as possible and we would soak up every second we could in this fantastic city with these amazing people we call friends. But. Oh. My. Goodness. I have felt on the verge for a few days now. I knew it was coming. Sure enough. It did. I had a full on meltdown Friday night after spilling a bowl of green beans on my foot, the stove, the carpet, the floor, my pants, everywhere. *Please note I spill a lot of things, so this normally is something I laugh about and move on from quickly.

But I lost it. Then Terrell was laughing at me, so I went back and forth between laughing at my ridiculousness and  crying hysterically. I now know what it feels like to have a psychotic break (I think). Anyway, all the exhaustion and stress and overwhelming life events that are all occurring simultaneously just combusted in my kitchen over about 7 spilt green beans.

With that said, I have slept a ton the past 24 hours and think that we have surmounted some of the biggest milestones for this process of moving that we can at this point. We have officially submitted our Visa applications. We had a fantastic yardsale (more to come on this). We have made all of our travel arrangements for the next few months. My to do list is back down to a manageable point and I have a few days off coming up. So my mental stability seems to be in the clear for a while.

But, in the past few weeks we have been out enjoying our friends and family and just really savoring this time in our life. We celebrated Terrell’s grandmas 90th birthday. Had Easter with his family. Terrell went on a school retreat to a beautiful island seen in the lighthouse photo. My girls college group ended with a super fun painting class (I cannot even begin to share about the emotions that accompany that or I will lose it again). We had more fun than a kid on a roller coaster, because we were grown ups on a roller coaster at 6 Flags with our favorite people. We saw Sister Hazel in concert. We have totally purged our house of excess stuff and now were a little addicted to living with less and less stuff.

So, hopefully, this will explain my sporadic postings. But watch out! Because I have so much great stuff to share with you now that things are manageable again! I have been working on my new website and really reevaluating why I love this blog. I have taken a step back and, with the help of Lemon and Raspberry’s wise words, remembered which posts I love to write and noting which ones you guys like more too. I have kind of had a Project Life overload lately here and in real life. So I have stepped back from it for a few weeks (which I will of course catch up on, but haven’t been so worried about) and actually used my hands and my tools to create some things. Not just my paper crafting tools. I’ve been sewing again and painting and trying some different things, which has really been bringing back my mojo. I’ve also been going through Elise’s new course Use Your Stash (of course I read the whole thing in one sitting, because it’s just that fantastic) and have been working on purging and have been honest about what stuff I really need to get rid of and have found some great stuff I forgot about! Seriously, check it out! It’s so cheap and so worth it!

Thanks so much to everyone who has signed up for the first Lovely Letters Snail Mail Exchange! There’s still time to get in if you want to participate! More here.

So get ready blog world and real world. I’m coming for you.


Lovely Letters: A Snail Mail Exchange

Hi friends! Today is a fantastic day! I’m all groggy from  my turkey and mashed potato hangover but I’m back at work for another day of fun-filled crazy day. Today is also really fantastic because I get to share with you a super fun secret project I’ve been working on for months!

But first some backstory….I stumbled upon a post that The Duck and The Owl wrote describing their experience doing a snail mail exchange….I immediately got super excited and hoped on over to the Nectar Collective and signed up for the next event! This is where, if you’ll remember, I met the fantastic Kerri. (notice the trend in crazy blog hopping here?!) Well I was hooked. But sadly, it was the end of the exchange! I was so sad. But! Then I found Esther. Who is wicked behind a camera, thoughtful, super nice, and was also a believer in the ways of snail mail. So, we began slowly forming the idea of starting our own exchange. Months of planning and traveling and life happening went by, but we worked through it all and are so, so happy to present to you the very first every event of the Lovely Letters Snail Mail Exchange!! Ta-Da! Imagine me making a creepy smiling face, nodding at you with jazz hands flaring! Ta-Da!


First, what is it? Its like blogger blind dating. We set you up with someone, hopefully from a different country than you, give you a few ideas of what to talk about and then boom! Your BFFs. Ok, well kinda. You guys blog crush on each other, send emails/Skype/text/morose code, share ideas or favorite blogs, ask each other questions about your different cultures, etc. Pretty much, you do what normal humans do when they meet for the first time, but via the interwebs. Then, the most fun part! You mail each other a gift along with a handwritten letter or postcard! (Imagine here I’m performing amazing acrobatics to get the crowd pumped up!)

We will provide you with a theme (optional), some questions and some suggestions to nurture your new friendship. Once you’ve gotten to know each other a bit, you choose something small (about $5) to send each other. Maybe you guys really hit it off talking about crafting so you send one of your favorite embellishments, tools, supplies or maybe your partner really loves hot teas and you send her your favorite fancy exotic brand only available in your country. It can be anything! It should represent you, your new relationship, your culture. The sky is the limit here (ok, well $5 is the limit here)!

The point is to

1. Send/receive a fantastic package (everyone loves mail)

2. To give/receive a small, thoughtful gift from a new friend 

3. To receive/write a handwritten letter from someone you’ve never met in person, gushing over how fantastic you/they are!

Here’s how it works. Every month we will open it up for sign ups. We will then partner you, email you (privately so no spam or sharing your info with others), you guys chat, send your gifts, then you write-up a blog post introducing each other to your community of followers and then link up on Esther and I’s pages for even more exposure! Boom. You’ve just made new friends, learned new things, received a really thoughtful gift and handwritten letter and been introduced to new blogging communities! Seriously, how can it get any better than that?!

Our hope is to foster more connection and community in this crazy blogosphere! We want people to collaborate, make real friendships, learn and grow through this experience. The interwebs are huge, so this is a chance to make them a little smaller and more personal.

You can read more info here on this fun little project and you can sign up for the May exchange here.

This months theme will be spring, because, let’s be honest, who’s not so incredibly ready for spring?! We’ve opened this sign up a little bit early since it’s the first one, so remember you wont hear from us until around the 9th of May to receive your partners. If you have any questions feel free to ask! And please share with your friends, the more the merrier!

14 for 14 update


This year I’ve set 14 goals for myself. Some easily attainable. Some abstract. Some secretive. Some challenging. Mostly awesome.

So here’s an update on how things are going so far.

  1. Go on a grand adventure. Check! Well, officially July 22nd this adventure will commence. More here. 
  2. Make a quilt. On a whim, I ransacked my scrap stash and started!! I’ve got to finish cutting my squares (which is the easy part), then the real work will begin.
  3. Start something. Check back on monday for something awesome!
  4. Project Life 2014. I started strong. Fell behind. Printed pics up to date and have totally lost my mojo. Gotta get it back.
  5. Blog (Design) Love. Ive officially decided on a new blog name and have started playing with logo design! Cant wait to get this up and running!
  6. Create a recipe book. Im slowly starting to collect recipes from friends and record my favorite Pinterest recipes, but Ive got to step up the time-table.
  7. Learn to shoot in manual. I’ve officially ventured into aperture priority and the field of shutter speeds! Progress, just need more practice!
  8. Read the Bible all the way through. I just finished a really awesome Bible Study (No Other Gods), so now Im starting to get back on track.
  9. Use up my craft stash. Elise is about to teach a class on A Beautiful Mess for this. I can’t wait! In efforts to begin, I’m selling some mixed books.
  10. Be an encourager. Somehow the people I’m trying to encourage are way more encouraging to me! Oh jeez, nice people!
  11. Dance like a fool  at a huge concert. Check! I was on top of the world! See more here.
  12. Annihilate my wardrobe. Wow. I own a ton of stuff! I have officially gotten my winter clothes down to only 1 bag! But who am I kidding? Summer clothes are my jam, so that’s where I foresee a problem….
  13. Go to bed by 11pm…..uh, no comment.
  14. Read 2 books a month. I’m currently KILLING IT with this one. Ill be doing a book review soon. Any suggestions? Im also on Goodreads. Lets me friends so I can see your recommendations!

How are you doing with your goals? Were officially a third of the way through the year (crazy right), but it’s not too late to start something!



Currently Guest Post

Hi friends! I am honored and amazed and giddy that Kristin is featuring me as a guest blogger and is letting me gush about how much I love her Currently Cards! So go check it out!

Oh and if you’re new here, welcome! Lets be friends and hold hands and throw glitter at each other. No, that would be weird. But you should be sure to follow via your favorite blog reader or sign up for updates via email. Then maybe you would like to check out some cool things like my other currently posts, some new project life tips, techniques and inspiration for you or some money saving travel tips, maybe a mini book or this DIY made from only toilet paper rolls? Stick around, say hey and let’s be friends!