make a house a home project: the mantle

Our new living room needs some attention. We have a couch, a chair, and a tv (well, a tv stand too). And I am at peace with moving slowly with our design projects. But the room feels to bare: like we are living in a temporary living apartment. 

So this weekend I decorated the mantle over the fireplace. I used pieces we had on hand (some pieces MIGHT be for sale in the Etsy shop. Ha!) It only took a few minutes and made such a difference to the space.

And I decided to show a few pictures of what the fireplace REALLY looks like. Because bloggers are awesome at cropping out the details. See? Awesome 1990s fireplace that we will remodel in a year or two. I didn't even center myself in the photos. Take that perfectionist self. 

And last but not least, a video! My first for Tag&Tibby. Show some grace friends, I used a tripod and a self timer on my camera. If you have any good blog resources for youtube and video editing please share! And let me know what you think. But only if it is nice :) Just kidding. Sort of. 

Recently moved and looking for more easy, affordable ideas?

Check out 5 ideas for nesting in a new home.

friday links

  Yesterday my husband and I visited a cute local nursery for landscape inspiration. The plants were beautiful, but I really adored all the old buildings on the property. Garden Grove Huntersville. NC


Yesterday my husband and I visited a cute local nursery for landscape inspiration. The plants were beautiful, but I really adored all the old buildings on the property. Garden Grove Huntersville. NC

A few months have passed since I last shared friday links. I plan to share regularly from now on! Here are a few blog posts this week that I found inspiring:

A DIY Beanbag Pouf by Anu of Nalle's House. Adorable!

This shade of blue on an accent wall. 

30 back to school lunchbox ideas. Horray for simple ideas!

Ikea + Paper! One of each please!

Do you dress up for dates? Inspired by Lesley Graham on that one.

Dried flower coasters at The Crafted Life. 

Have a lovely weekend! xo julia

why buy good children's shoes?

I should start by disclosing: I am frugal. I enjoy thrift stores and have a coupon for almost everything. But I believe in making wise purchases and there are times when spending more is completely worth it. 

shoe images via

shoe images via

Children are on their feet all day. They run and jump and climb on playgrounds. Name brand shoes are more durable. I have purchased shoes from Target and they scuff and tear within a few weeks. So I purchase 1 good pair of shoes per season. This summer our son got a pair of Keens and our daughter a pair of Pedipeds. They have worn them every day since May without a blister or complaint.

Another reason to buy name brand: they outlive the child's wear. They are great for hand me downs to a younger sibling or for resale. I resold my children's 2012 pair of pedipeds and keens without issue (expect to get $10-20 depending on condition).  

I buy their shoes online and recommend Zappos and Amazon, returns are easy and there are reviews of each shoe. I bookmark a few shoe choices and then show my kids. They get to help make the selection and we have zero meltdowns (after years of high emotions in shoe stores with sensory processing challenges, so thankful for online shopping).

If a $30-50 shoe is out of budget check out local consignment sales. Branded shoes sell fast, but volunteers get first pick before the event opens. Also consider joining a local Facebook swap group. 

What do you splurge on? Where are you frugal? I admit I've worn Old Navy flip flops all summer!

Four Ways to Succeed on Etsy

From time to time I am asked about opening a shop on Etsy. I began selling vintage goods in my shop in January of 2013. The platform easy to use, and the buyers are wonderful. So I thought it would be fun to share a few success tips! 

1. Develop a Network

Networking is so important. Start a Facebook page and Twitter handle for your shop. Share items on Instagram. My most loyal buyers are friends I have discovered through social media. Join teams on Etsy. The team I was a part of in Minnesota developed treasury lists (an example here). One of my items, a vintage baby blanket, ended up on the front page of Etsy through that team. It provided a lot of traffic to my shop and the blanket sold within hours. 

2. Take time with pictures

Etsy is a popular place to sell so put a unique spin on items. Add props and study other shop owner's style you admire. Natural light is always best, and you can't go wrong with a white backdrop. You can list up to 5 photos of each item and I recommend sharing at least 3. Your first picture should be square, eye catching, and look good in thumbnail size.

3. Describe and Tag

Tagging each item will produce a lot of traffic to your shop. If you item is aqua, mid century, or industrial tag it as such. Use all the tags that you can. Spend time writing the descriptor for your item. Explain the material, condition, and size. If it is vintage research the history of the item and share a sentence or two. Be sure to disclose any handmade or vintage flaws.

4. Budget your Time

But just be prepared to work hard, especially on the first few listings! The promptness of your response to buyers, how well you package, and how quickly you ship will affect your rating. Research and listing each piece takes time, as does photography. But It is also incredibly rewarding!

Have any other tips? Do you run a shop? Please share advice! 

a year of change

This year has could easily be summed up as a year of change for our family. Alternate titles for this post include: kindergarten + kindergarten, you can't hold them back, the year of life change. 

Our children are close in age, and the plan had been for B. to attend 1st grade and K. to attend transitional kindergarten. However, God made it clear there was a different plan for our family. After meeting with the new school this summer we decided it would be in B.'s best interest to attend kindergarten. And just yesterday my husband Lee and I decided that K. was ready for school too. After much praying and some tears (mine, not hers) I enrolled her yesterday and she is now in the classroom next door to her brother.

For the first time in (perhaps) years. I have a day to myself. There are practical goals: an in state drivers license, drop off doctor paperwork, pick up school supplies. I have been weary from our move (we moved from Minnesota to North Carolina this summer) so this is all likely a good thing, and yet incredibly different for me.

So cheers to a new adventure! To being 31 with both kids in school for the day. A day to catch up and plan for the future. For those of you with children, are they back to school this week? How do they like it?

Happy Wednesday!