Jitney's Journeys : Joys of the Job {Working with Scripture}

My favorite part of the creative side of Jitney's Journeys is having the opportunity to envision really cool pieces with inspiration from my friends. Judy asked me if I could make a couple of Christmas gifts for her in December. One being a heart piece for Emma, personalized with "Emma... God's words for you"and Jeremiah 29:11-13; and the other being a diamond piece for Kim, personalized with "Kim, you are worth far more than diamonds" and Proverbs 31. With Judy's enthusiasm and inspiration, it didn't take much more for me to design these pieces...

It's such an encouragement to design custom work with scripture. I haven't even had the pleasure of meeting Kim and Emma but they have been poured over in prayer in the hours worked on those pieces. The words of God have dwelt deep in my spirit and settled gently into my heart. It is my prayer that God's words will penetrate their hearts in the same way. Working with scripture is a constant reminder of God's love for us, His mercy and His longing to know us.

I need that reminder.

Constantly.


Jeremiah 29:11-13






Proverbs 31








Etsy Shop : Annual Planner / Agenda / Calendar

Now announcing the Jitney's Journeys line for the 2014 Agenda.

Call me old school, but nothing helps me to get more organized than pencil and paper. I love flipping through pages without having to scroll down a screen. Writing something down helps me remember dates way more than typing it in a phone. I try to utilize Google Calendar the best I can since it syncs mine and JD's calendars but I still run to my written out planner when the time beckons.

Like all of our printables, the annual planner set was designed for personal purposes but with hopes that others could find good use in it as well. My 2014 agenda is already bound up with dates penciled in. 

Below you will find a by-the-hour daily printable planner that includes extra room for notes and checklists.


It is available for instant download in our Etsy Shop here


It is available for instant download in our Etsy Shop here


This annual calendar includes the scripture Zephaniah 3:16-17, our theme for the year.
It is available for instant download in our Etsy Shop here


List out your upcoming events on this page.


 This set includes a calendar for every month in 2014 and pairs perfectly with the set when bound into a notebook.


Don't forget to stop by our shop and see what other items we have stocked. 


Are you a digital planner (using Google Calendar, etc.) or do you still prefer a good ole' fashioned date book?

The Best of Etsy, Huntsville Edition : Why It Fueled Us

You would’ve thought that Jitney’s Journeys had been announced as the Top 100 young businesses to watch. We were that excited. The honor was basically the equivalent for us. As far as we know, this is the first list (outside of Etsy treasuries) that someone has recognized Jitney’s Journeys in some form or another for our products. [We should really put a marketing strategy in place for 2014.]

AL.com included Jitney’s Journeys in “The Best of Etsy, Huntsville Edition” earlier this week. We were one of twelve companies featured. Even though we’re the last photo in the list, our placemat photo headlined for the article when the author posted to Facebook. That counts for something, right? We wouldn’t have even known about it if it had not been for my sweet friend Rebekah who texted me with, “Jitney’s Journeys was featured on AL.com!!!!” Haha!

This announcement fueled me.

I began writing out 2014 goals (personal and for business), class lists, mixed media ideas, even Christmas products for next year’s line, all in the midst of finishing current orders for Christmas.

Encouragement fuels us to move forward faster and with more stamina, a clearer mind.

I keep a file of encouraging letters and emails from past customers (doesn’t everybody?). 
Those letters and emails fuel me.

You know why?

Because those letters and emails… and even this article… they’re not about us.

The majority of the letters and emails include gratitude, not as much about the placemats or the actual product. The words of gratitude are targeted toward the small piece of cardstock we include in every package with a peacock feather on one side and a verse on the other:

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:16-18


It is so not about us.

This article... that was Jesus. As far as we're concerned, Jesus led her to our page and that's the only explanation of her finding us in order to announce us as a "Best of" candidate. 

Jitney’s Journeys was featured.

While, yes, it is “our” company; it’s first and foremost Jesus’ company.

That’s the reason we can boast (1 Cor. 1:31).

It is not about us, has never been about us, and never will be about us.

It’s about Jesus and bringing glory and praise to His name.

If we ever lose focus of that, it is our daily prayer that He will take it away from us.

He’s the reason we have what we have - from talent to skill to creativity to tangible materials to accolades.

He’s the Creator, the Lifeline, and the Sustainer of our marriage and our business.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever and ever. (Romans 11:36)

The Todd Nest : Dining Room & Fall Premiere

Welcome to our Dining Room! 

I've spent the last two weeks or so painting the walls and reupholstering our dining room chairs in preparation for a fall dinner and game night with some friends from JD's office.

You really can't tell in these photos but we painted the upper half of the room in the same gray (jogging path gray) as we used for the Jitney's Journeys studio. We painted the lower part a stark white. We considered using beadboard on the bottom half but we would eventually like to cover the old school popcorn ceiling with beadboard... you know, after we tear down two walls and renovate our kitchen in like seven years. ;) It'll all happen someday, right?


{sidenote: we are currently in the process of brainstorming for barnwood picture frames to cover that entire bare wall to the left of the built-in and looking for a super unique, rustic yet charming chandelier. we will update you via blogosphere as soon as we make this stuff happen.}

We've had so much fun (and probably way too much stress) with decorating both sides of the built-in between our dining room and living room. I've got to hand it to Mama E - she pretty much designed this side of the built-in too. Isn't it lovely! I honestly don't know what I would do without her. 

Below you will see the before and after shots of our reupholstered chairs. JD was such a champ for taking 300+ staples out of the six chair cushions. Gosh, I love that man. :)


The gorgeous fabric we used was from Hobby Lobby...

Here's another close-up:


At Shop with a Purpose, a new friend ordered a table runner from us with a monogram like the one above. I fell in love with the design. It just so happened that the table runner I made for the Todd Nest originally fit our old table but wasn't long enough for the new table (above) when it had the leaf insert. Obviously, I had no other choice but to make another table runner for the new table with the same monogram style I had made a few days before for a client, right?


The fall theme in our home this year is pretty simplistic. I bought a bundle of pumpkins from Hobby Lobby at 50% off. Half were the distressed orange and the other half were brown glitter-beaded pumpkins with gold glitter stems. 

But I was really set on having off-white pumpkins this year so I spray painted the orange ones with Valspar (Churchill Hotel Vanilla ) spray paint and covered the stem in a dark bronze glitter. Just what I had envisioned. 


For the centerpiece, I layered buckeyes from our yard on the bottom followed by baby acorns our neighbors helped us pick up and a tiny bronze pumpkin propped on top. 


Come back tomorrow to see the recipe my amazing chef-of-a-friend, Leah, helped me make!


What has been your fall decor inspiration this year?


An Adoption Story : Journey to Ethiopia with the Long Family

Meet our friends, Andy and Bethany Long. They have two awesome kids, Carter and Piper, and are currently awaiting the arrival of a new addition from Ethiopia. As they were introducing themselves to some new friends in our small group last week, Bethany said they had three kids but one just happens to still be in Ethiopia. 

I love that. 

Their anticipation and excitement for the child they haven't even met yet encourages faith and hope in everyone who hears their story. 

Get ready to have your world rocked by Jesus and the amazing things He is doing across the nations. 

{photograph by Ginny Webb @ Sleepy Fox Photography}

{photograph by Ginny Webb @ Sleepy Fox Photography}


This is their story:

Our story starts the same as any other family's really. We wanted a baby. We had two children and we wanted another child. We had been trying to get pregnant for about three months before we stopped and reassessed the situation. Something didn't feel right. We weren't excited. We were nervous and unsure. This was not the way we had felt with our first two children. So we decided to take some time to think and pray. As we did, the question came up: What about adoption? 

I had a lot of reasons why we should not adopt: I was not a super mom. Only wise godly parents can adopt and I was not in that camp. I was scared. There were too many things that could go wrong. Even with all my objections, my husband and I could not let the question go. We kept talking and thinking and praying. Over the course of the next 6 months or so, God began to take away all of my excuses. 

He began to show me that I didn't need to be a super mom. In fact, there was no way that I could be. I am a sinner. I will fail my children. My hope for parenting any of my children has to be Jesus because He will never fail them. I did not need to be scared because I am not in control. I am also not alone in this task of parenting. Jesus has given me His Spirit. And so slowly everything I had been pointing to and saying, “See, there is no way we could do this,” slipped away. On April 11th, 2011, it dawned on me, that after my fears had been stripped away, all that was left was a little boy who didn't have a mommy - a little boy who needed to be loved. In that moment, I knew that I wanted to love him. It was that simple. There was no turning back then. 

I did not say yes to adoption because I became the mom I thought that I should be or had because I had no uncertainties, but because I saw that Jesus would be enough. My fears didn't need to control me. 

Jesus was bigger than all the “what if's”. 

So, six months of paperwork and 22 months of waiting... here we are. We have had ups and downs in the process. It has taken much longer than we had hoped. But during that time I have seen Jesus provide money through people who love us. I have had to trust that God is good even when it feels like He has forgotten us and our son. I have had to believe that He is working even when I can't see anything happening. Even though it has been hard, it has been a rich time. Hopefully in the next couple of months we will get our referral; which is an email that says “we have matched you with a child”. It will have a file with some facts and a couple of pictures. It may not seem like much but I have dreamed of that moment for 28 months. It will be the moment I see my son for the first time. All the paperwork, all the waiting, will be worth it. I am not going to pretend that adoption will be easy. I have read too many books to be that naive. But I am convinced that this is what I want to do. I want to walk alongside this boy. I want to weep with him over the brokenness of this life. I want to love him. I want to be his mommy. 

And that is the story of our third child. It is different than I imagined it would be. It is a bigger plan than I dared to dream on my own. God is weaving our family together. I know it will be beautiful, not because we are amazing- we are just normal people. No, it will be beautiful because Jesus is doing it.

-Bethany


{photograph by Ginny Webb @ Sleepy Fox Photography}

Jitney's Journeys has created a set of chatter tiles to express the story of their hearts with the scripture of their choosing that has carried them through the adoption process. Half of the proceeds from each chatter tile purchase will be donated to the Long Family as they continue to follow Christ in obedience and come closer to bringing their child home.


We recommend buying a set directly from us (via email) or from Andy or Bethany. However, you can also purchase a set from our Etsy shop here which we had to bump up in price because of fees and shipping costs. However, if you live in Huntsville or are friends / family of the Long's, you can enter coupon code JOURNEYTOETHIOPIA and receive free shipping [in other words, you can pick it up from them or The Todd Nest (the in-home Jitney's Journeys "boutique")]. 

Jitney's Journeys Products : Halloween 90th Birthday Surprise Party


My sweet friend, Kandess, asked if we could make some special accents for her grandfather's 90th surprise party. 

Theme : Spook-tacular Halloween 
Location : Gorgeous Barn

As with all of our products, all of the goodies here were custom made and passed by Kandess first to certify perfect satisfaction. 

Not gonna lie... I had a pretty difficult time figuring out which direction I'd like to go when designing these products. The original thought process was chalkboard-inspired but then I thought that maybe I should go a little more grunge or even maybe a little more cute-sie. After hours of that not working out, I decided to try proceed with the chalkboard-look. 

That's when I designed this lovely banner...
and kept pressing forward.

Inspiration, achieved. :)


{happy birthday banner}


{up-close of the birthday banner}


{table goodies}


{menu cards - Kandess did an amazing job coming up with fun names for all of the food and drinks!}


{table numbers via papergravy.com / thegraphicsfairy.com}


{assorted signs to display}


{up-close of rosettes}


{black and orange striped straws via The Charm House}


Kandess and her husband dressed up as a gangster and flapper girl. 
"Ridiculously cute" cannot express how amazing they looked!!


{Daniel & Kandess}


{table set-up - isn't that cake fantastic!?}







For Life Ministries : Shop with a Purpose

Last week, we had the honor of setting up a table at For Life Ministries' annual Shop with a Purpose. For Life Ministries' mission is "to equip, educate and empower the next generation to meet the needs of the many orphaned, widowed and oppressed through various avenues and programs". The ministry aims "to teach and nurture them in the truth of Christ's unconditional love applied in all situations, regardless of gender, color or nationality." The event was held at an absolutely - breathtakingly - gorgeous home. The home is so beautiful, in fact, that they will be a stop on the Huntsville Tour of Homes for Christmas (which is why they already have a few Christmas decorations adorning the home).

The purpose of the event is to bring awareness to local and international orphans, and to offer opportunities for sponsorships for those children. When the event ends, each vendor donates a portion of their proceeds to the ministry as well. To learn more about For Life Ministries, you can visit their website here or their Facebook page here

We've been keeping late hours and early mornings to ensure that we had everything in place for our booth this year...


We still didn't finish everything we wanted to have out, but I think we had a pretty good selection for customers to choose from...


{The Todd Nest customizable wooden board}
{1 qt. double-sided glass-etched jar}
{Proverbs 3:3 mixed media}
{monogrammed placemats}
{glass-etched mason jars with chalkboard lids}


{single and quadruple wrap bracelets}


This lovely family is the Long Family. They're in the process of adopting a sweet little child from Ethiopia. When they mentioned that they were thinking about starting to raise support soon, we began brainstorming and praying about ways we could help. Thus, the Journey to Ethiopia Chatter Tiles came into being. We sell them in sets of 4 ($20 each) and each chatter tile has a verse that has been instrumental in their adoption process. Jitney's Journeys will give $10 from each set sold to the Long Family as they continue to follow Christ in obedience and come closer to bringing their child home. 

You can read more about their story here

Please email me if you'd like to buy a set of the Ethiopia Chatter Tiles. We can ship them anywhere in the U.S. but we will have to charge a little extra for shipping. The tiles are pretty stinkin' heavy. ;)


{12 x 12 "Hebrews 6:19-20" anchor mixed media art piece}
{our nest chalkboard}
{home sweet home pillow}
{chatter tiles}


{handwritten merry Christmas and gift tags}



{Proverbs 3:3 mixed media art piece}


{12 x 12 "Hebrews 6:19-20" anchor mixed media art piece}


{Proverbs 4:23 mixed media art piece}

Thank you so much to For Life Ministries for allowing us to take part in such an amazing event! They will be hosting a few more Shop with a Purpose events before the year ends. If you'd like to come, email us and we'll give you the details {or you can follow our Facebook page here for updates}.


Todd Nest Happenings : Fall Preview 2013

Things have been splendidly chaotic both inside and outside of the Todd Nest this fall, which may explain why our blog hasn't been completely up-to-date. Here's a little glimpse into the past few weeks:

We welcomed Fall with a new wreath on our front door. The burlap ribbon was from last year's Christmas decorations; the white flower was a piece from our spring wreath; the red / orange leaves were given to us from our sweet neighbors; and the twigs were taken from a freshly clipped bush in our backyard. Cost: zero. That's what I'm talkin' about! 


JD's parents bought us a living room suite as a wedding gift (we asked if we could postpone their wedding gift till we moved into our first home and decided on something we really needed). JD and I have both been beyond blessed with amazing, gracious and loving in-laws!! The night La-Z-Boy delivered it all, we fell asleep in our new recliners. :) We'll give you a more thorough tour of our family room later. 


We picked out bamboo blinds for our giant windows from a sweet friend in Monroe, GA. We'll post more about those after we put them up this weekend when my parents come to town! (I'm sure we'll have A LOT to post about after this weekend - we have planned TONS of exciting things to do around the house.) It was a tough decision but we landed on the blinds to the left. 


My girlfriends and I had a girls' spa weekend to celebrate the accomplishments of Kellie (in the middle). She earned her second Master's degree this summer - i.e. she's awesome and deserved a great escape! These ladies are fantastic and their friendship means the world to me.


Chase, my brother, and his wife, Jackie, got a new puppy and appropriately named him Tag (to go along with Chase's name). He's half min pin, half yorkie. We've been obsessing over every pic Chase and Jackie post on Facebook or send to us via text. I wish they would start a blog exclusively with cute pics of Tag. 


We had a family vacation with JD's side of the family to Branson, Missouri. It was a precious time spent with precious people: Mr. Jim and Mrs. Josie (JD's parents), Uncle Donald and Aunt Sandy (Mr. Jim's brother and his wife), and Brandon and Theresa (JD's sister and her husband). 


Most of our time was spent watching football, exercising (crossfit) and eating. Most places closed at 9 p.m. except this place: Cakes & Cream Dessert Parlor. It was pretty delicious but the atmosphere charmed my boots off. I'm a sucker for 50's music, which is why JD took me out front after dessert and danced the night away with me (actually, it was only one song but it was super romantic). 


We only saw one show while we were there: Joseph. The musical was a pretty on-spot rendition of the story of Joseph but my favorite part of being there was this...


JD asked me to take a photo of him with this statue of Goliath. As I was taking it, a sweet older gentleman pointed over and said to his wife, "Take a photo of me doing like that guy!!!" As soon as JD was out of the pic, the gentleman propped his legs out for battle and put up his dukes with a big smile.

It was awesome. 

------
Since we've been back from Branson, I've been going turbo mode while making products for this year's Shop with a Purpose, an event to benefit For Life Ministries. 

We'll have our traditional burlap products, glass etchings, chatter tiles and some new pieces like these leather bracelets... 


art pieces... 


and the popular leather wrap bracelets.


Hopefully we'll have more time to post again soon!! 






Hawaii : 36 Days of Adventure on Oahu

-- ALOHA --

And we're back from another exhilarating trip to Hawaii!!

When I was a kid (or more like, my whole life), one of my grandest goals was to visit Hawaii. I wanted to swim with the dolphins, go to a luau, make a lei, and learn how to hula dance. Since we moved to Huntsville for JD's job, we have been able to visit Hawaii three times together and experience WAY more than my small wishlist entailed. God has blessed us in such a beautiful way - most of the trip is covered financially since it's a business trip and we are super intentional about saving money throughout the trip so that my plane ticket is covered by what we save. Of course, the greatest blessing has been to share these amazing trips with my sweet husband. In fact, I can't imagine these trips without him. 

This particular adventure was the longest trip we've been on - about 36 days. We stayed at a hotel in Waikiki with a kitchen suite so that we could cook the majority of our meals (i.e. noodles, soy sauce and canned fruit - I was serious when I said we saved aggressively). Our trip consisted of several interesting hikes and beach bumming (for the first time in three years) when JD had days off. We'll give you more details over the next few posts but we wanted to leave you with a few of our favorite photos and places from the trip until then: 


Kailua Beach : Oahu, Hawaii


Waikiki : Oahu, Hawaii


Waikiki Beach : Oahu, Hawaii


Pali Puka Hike : Oahu, Hawaii

And, of course, my favorite photos always end up being of my sweet and handsome husband...


Mokuleia Beach : Oahu, Hawaii


The Jitney's Journeys Studio : Shelves and Storage

Clutter.

That's probably what most people see when they walk into the Jitney's Journeys studio.

But I see inspiration.

I see tools to build with, drawers to fill with vintage goodies, wall space filled with lovely color, and gorgeous packing options to use for wrapping and shipping little creations to my favorite customers. 

When I dreamt the perfect studio, this was it - including those sturdy, wall-length shelves. 


After staining the shelves the same stain we used for the desk and painting the wooden shelf brackets a few coats of the Dover White (Sherwin Williams), it was time to assemble. We drilled the brackets into the studs, placed the shelf on top and secured the shelf to the brackets with a couple of screws each.

In all honesty, it sounds a lot easier than it was; but hey, we're not exactly the handiest couple when it comes to home improvement projects. We are learning though, one project at a time. A few misguided holes in the wall later, the project was complete! 



baskets : vintage gym locker metal baskets
Mama E snagged a nice stack of them for me when I told her about my vision for the studio. 



By the way, I can't get over these two songs right now. They're not new but I've found a fresh love for them lately... 
*Billie Jean (remake by The Civil Wars)
*What If This Storm Ends (Snow Patrol)

What have you been listening to lately?


PS: If I emailed you about receiving a CD, I promise it will be coming your way soon - as in hopefully next week.