Search Results for: Gussy

Weekend Links :: Longest Edition Ever


Kristen’s DIY Spotted Drapery is amazing!

jones designs duct tape wreath

Emily created a stunning wreath out of duct tape!

love coming home

A Confession: “we all suck at stuff”

living-room-10A beautiful, purposeful living room


Live Edge Kitchen Island, from a  tree in their yard that had to be cut–the ultimate in recyling


Tsh & I have a new podcast up (did you see her blog name change?!)

Caroline, me & my Gussy Sews Cowl & Tsh just hanging at the Allume conference


There are better things to be than rich :: Becoming Minimalist


4 Reasons We Have Baggage


Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 8.20.00 PMYour Best Story

women of christmas Christmas at the Farm, yes please


Last month we helped raise money for a Mercy House school room for teenage moms in Kenya, the money was raised in something crazy like two days, so many people gave so much–here’s a photo of the room, it’s almost finished! Kristen will be visiting over Thanksgiving so I’ll watch out for more updates then and try to link.

Help Children Affected by Philippines Typhoon
Last week, on my 40th birthday, a hurricane three times bigger than Hurricane Katrina hit the Philippines, Super Typhoon Haiyan. Two years ago my sister visited the Philippines with Compassion and whenever I think of the Philippines I immediately picture this video that Kat made on their trip two years ago.
And now, after the devastation of the Typhoon, I wonder how in the world anyone got by in a place that on a good day you had to ride a boat to their barely floating house where you could look through the ‘floor boards’ and see water. We sponsor a boy, Kim, from the Philippines through Compassion International. It’s a ministry I trust, I’ve traveled with, one I’ll travel with again in January and we trust them with our gift to be used wisely in the Philippines. You can trust them too, give here.



So, another week has passed. A week brimming full of creativity, encouragement, tears of sorrow and tears of joy. I sometimes ask myself how can I dare to include the most inspiring DIY creatives, my heroines who never fail to inspire, right along and next to the most horrible stories along with the greatest gifts and posts about minimalism, the NERVE, right? And then I realize, how dare I not? Isn’t that exactly what this world is made up of? Isn’t that exactly where we live every day?

Let’s embrace living in this imperfect world. Let’s be brave enough to be our true self. Let’s have compassion for our neighbors. Let’s live with intention.

dan newton photography

dan newton photography

A great way to end this post is with Shaun’s new song…

And the Winner is…


giveaway winner

Polly, check your inbox for an email from Caroline and leave a comment so we can all congratulate you! Thrilled for you–these are the best prizes EVER and there were 3285 entries!!! If there are multiple Polly Walters, the winner is the one with the email from Caroline in your inbox!

And, we have discount codes for everyone! So if you didn’t win that thing you had your eye on, at least you can get it at a discounted price! Thanks to all of the Nesting Place sponsors in 2013 for being a part of the Nesting Place community!



Olive Bungalow
15% off  until 11/15/13 with code NESTER15

Red Letter Words
25% off (not including custom work or print of the month) TODAY ONLY! with code nester25

Southern Nest
10% off until 11/9/13 with code Nester

Linkel Designs
20% off until 11/11/13 with code NESTER20

Barn Owl Primitives
15% off until 11/14/13 with code NESTER15

The Vintage Pearl
15% off until 11/8/13 with code nester15

Button Bird Designs
20% off  until 11/15/13 with code NESTERGIVEAWAY

10% off until 12/15/13 with code stillawinner2013

Gussy Sews
20% off until 11/9/13 with code NESTERGUSSY also Free Shipping on all domestic orders, no coupon needed!

Show & Tell Faith
25% off with code NEST25 TODAY ONLY!

Clean Mama
20% off with code 20NESTINGPLACE

Carol & Company
15% off until 11/11/13 with code NEST15

LoveFeast Shop
10% off until 11/15/13 with code FALLNESTING10

Royal Design Studio
10% off with code NEST10

Kess InHouse
15% off until 11/30/13 with code nestingplace15

Lindsay Letters
Free Shipping until 12/31/13 with code HEARTNESTER

Giveaway Day ~ One Grand Prize!

giveaway day


Welcome to our 5th Annual Giveaway Day where ONE unbelievably lucky person will win ALL of these fabulous prizes worth over $1,700! The winner will practically be finished with their Christmas shopping!

As you scroll down you’ll want to click on the link for each shop so you can subscribe or favorite them. They are full of meaningful beauty for anyone on your holiday shopping list, so be sure to bookmark this page to come back to later for incredible places to shop!

Once again, ONE person will WIN ALL of THESE INCREDIBLE PRIZES!!!!


His Law is Love

Lindsay Letters :: Win a copy of this canvas print “His Law is Love and His Gospel is Peace” – A beautiful phrase from O Holy Night in carefree hand lettering and sketchy laurels. Hang one over your mantle or by your tree this winter as a sweet reminder of the good news we celebrate, this season and always. Valued at $125.


Nester Ad

Carol & Company :: featuring jewelry and unique pieces for your home, win a $100 Gift Certificate to shop in their store.



Garnish :: Win a $75 gift certificate to add a little Garnish and package life’s moments.

goldenloveThe Vintage Pearl :: Win a $75 Gift Certificate to their shop which is full of beautiful pieces hand-stamped with names, dates or meaningful phrases, making them a special keepsake to keep for yourself or as a gift.


amazing grace1-H

Red Letter Words :: You will win your choice of any 12×12 or 11×14 size gallery wrap canvas print ~ a $100-$115 value.



LoveFeast Shop :: You will win a $75 Gift Certificate to use in their shop, which is filled with modern, rustic luxe home decor and beautiful things.



Gussy Sews :: win 1 crocheted infinity cowl (winner selects from 6 colors), handmade in Los Angeles from ultra cozy yarn + a $50 gift card to Gussy Sews ( — a total of $95 in product.



Royal Design Stencils :: You will win a $100 gift certificate to be used to purchase any of their stunning and unique stencils.



Show & Tell Faith :: Perfect for adding a little vintage flair to your favorite chair, couch or almost any space in your home you will win a hand screened “Be Still & Know” pillow along with a $25 gift code for the winner to use on our website ~ valued at a total of $85.


Olive Bungalow :: win these amazing Soho Earrings! Handcrafted with sterling silver, 14k yellow gold, melee diamonds and bronze accents.  Retail value $155.



Southern Nest :: Created from beautiful & unique Baltic Birch wood, you will win a monogram package which includes one XL monogram, 2 medium monograms & monogrammed chalkboard ~ all valued at $205.



Barn Owl Primitives :: Win this original “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” Typography Word Art Sign. It is the PERFECT sign for a little touch of Christmas! This sign is completely hand painted on a quality pine board and is weather worn white with red and green letters. Like all Barn Owl Primitives Signs, it is distressed and antiqued for an aged, vintage finish, then protected with a coat of clear poly so it will last for many Christmases to come! Valued at $75.


linkel designs

Linkel Designs  :: You will receive an $80 Gift Certificate to their Handmade Jewelry Shop where you can use your certificate to purchase one of kind beaded earrings, necklaces, rings & statement pieces.


nesting place giveaway

Clean Mama :: Clean Mama Printables is giving away a $75 shop credit!  Who says homekeeping and organizing can’t be adorable, fun AND easily implemented into your life?  Clean Mama Printables specializes in original organizational documents designed to take the WORK out of organizing your life.



Button Bird Designs :: You will win a Button Bird Designs Owl Pillow, Quilted Clutch with Detachable Flower Pin & a Lavender Neck Wrap with & Lavender Eye Pillow ~  valued at a total of $78.



KESS InHouse :: Finally waterproof artwork for the bathroom, otherwise known as limited edition shower curtains! Add an artistic splash to the everyday bathroom with a Kess Inhouse waterproof shower curtain! Valued at $99!

 24-Inch-Traditional-Twist-Christmas-WreathSnowgreens :: You will win two handcrafted 24-Inch fresh Fraser Fir Christmas Wreaths of choice. Valued at over $100.



1. Check out the shops or sites you love from the giveaway– pin them, bookmark them, tattoo them on your arm; whatever helps you remember them for your future shopping.

2. Enter by subscribing to Notes From the Nest

I’d love to send you little notes in your inbox from time to time. I’d love your permission to email you with little announcements, stories and updates, nothing annoying. We’ll choose the winner of Giveaway Day directly from the email list so be sure to sign up. And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time if you feel it’s not for you.

Click here to sign up for the Nesting Place Notes from the Nest & Enter to win the giveaway.

This Giveaway will end Midnight Monday, November 4th.  The winner will be randomly chosen & announced Tuesday, November 5th.

{This giveaway is open to US residents only, so sorry}

You can still leave a comment but that won’t enter you to win, to enter click here. Thanks and good luck!

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Hurt me, I should have added a raffelcopter counter, I’ll update this number as entries come in!

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Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 6.22.27 AM


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Weekend Links







repurposed end table



yarn bombing







 and this. amen.-1

My husband, Chad and I are speaking at Allume this October in Greenville, SC, will you be there?


Favorite Things Party

best gifts under $15

This year I asked some of my girlfriends, the original favorite things party girls, to submit their favorite things along with mine:

Gussy: Essie Nail Polish in Mint Candy Apple $6.05

Ellen: Dipped Measuring Cups “One of my favorite things is fancy measuring cups. I spend so much time in the kitchen and sometimes, especially at the end of a long day, I like a bit of pretty when I’m putting together dinner.” $12.99

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weekend links :: on being moved and moving

Randy P. Martin thanks for the source, John


Layla and Kevin said yes

Kasey moved to Hawaii and wears a bikini you probably remember her from this.

(Also, Kasey is one of my favorite people to follow on instagram)

Kristen is moving to a different part of town

Gussy and Zack decided to pack up and move to California, even before he had a job secured

Britt and family aren’t moving to Africa, but they are moving

Weekend Links

Organize with purpose:

Martha is so smart with her wire rack turned on its side and attached to the cabinet.

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Decorating Truths from A 15-Year-Old Tanzanian Boy

Warning:: Moms of boys may experience uncomfortable, unexplainable side effects while reading this post. Side effects are treatable with a prompt visit here to sponsor a teenage boy.  In order to alleviate the discomfort, take one or two of those and email me in the morning–for real, you should email me after you do this.

Flashback about four weeks ago.  I get in bed at my normal bed time one Sunday night (yes, it is actually still in the 8′s have I told you I am 97 years old?)  and I happen to remember to bring my phone upstairs with me and I see a text from Caroline.

What luck!  So I watch and I learn one thing about Tanzania; I learn what CBS decides to tell me about the Maasai Tribe. I mean, I didn’t even realize that Tanzanite comes from Tanzania–I really should have researched this country I was going to visit.  I must have doubled up on art class and skipped Geography in school or something.  But now I’m armed with a tiny bit of knowledge about Tanzania and it feels good. Note to self:: Maasai Tribe.

Amazing Race on CBS

Flash forward to today.  It’s the day I get to meet our sponsored child, Topiwo. We just started sponsoring him right before this trip so all I have is a photo of him and a name I’m not sure how to pronounce so I call him “Topo” to myself and the initial information that Compassion sends, but we hadn’t corresponded through letters yet so, you know, we didn’t really know each other.

I was lucky enough to get to be there when Amy met her sponsored child and it was breathtaking.  And I knew every meeting is different and I am a 97, I mean 38-year-old mom who has Wynonna Judd on her iPod meeting a 15-year-old boy in Africa.  Worlds are colliding people.  I was prepared for lots of awkwardness and maybe not even a hug or anything, maybe a thumbs up or something or a rock throwing contest at lizards or whatever.  I’ve been around 15-year-old boys before at my own house,  they are their own special people and I’m good with that.

So we leave the city of Arusha, and we drive an hour and twenty minutes into the most beautiful land I’ve ever laid eyes on–sorry North Carolina.

Vast green grasslands with big huge-attention stealing, Mt. Kilimanjaro quietly watching over the entire last 45 minutes of driving.  Mt. Kilimanjaro is an introvert but one you can’t help but notice.  It was breathtaking.  And on the way, our guide, Mary tells us that many of the children at this Compassion location are Maasai. Wait, what? Maasai?  I know that word! The ONE thing I actually kind of heard of about Tanzania?  I have to put on my sunglasses on the bus and make Maggie tell me funny stories because how do I explain that I’m already tearing up that Topo might be Maasai?

So we pull up to the site and they sing to us because they want to make us cry.

And we get out and we start shaking hands and laughing and introducing ourselves and I make my way around scanning the crowd for a boy that looks like this …

 our youngest holding our photo of Topo

And finally, I make my way around to a group of boys and a sassy girl with some kind of transition lenses glasses…

and they are all circled around and pointing to a boy standing in the middle of the group with his head down….and he is smiling.  And I ask him his name and it starts with “Top” which is the only part of his name I know how to pronounce.

And there he is. Wearing the same clothes as in the picture.


I hope he could tell I was happy to meet him?

And I am so happy that I didn’t cry (Maggie was praying for that specifically) because who wants to meet a 38-year-old mom with Wynonna on her iPod who is also CRYING? No one!  Everyone would much rather meet a 38-year-old mom with Wynonna on her iPod who is making a face like they are going to eat them.

So he is absolutely adorable (15-year-old boys everywhere now hate me but whatevs, they are not my demographic anyway and he was TOTALLY adorable, people!).  I pulled out a little photo book we made for him and showed him pictures of my family.


He loved this one…

Then it was time for them to sing another song because they wanted to see me cry again here’s a 25 second clip if you want to hear.


back row, right corner, a little off rhythm, purple sweater, yellow shirt–oh wait they all have that on

Then we went into the Compassion office and, y’all, he grabbed MY HAND.  I promise I did not in any way try to hint for him to hold my hand, I wanted to make sure I gave him space to be his own personality (clearly, I held back all of my emotions which you can tell by the stoic look on my face in the photos) but oh my word he held my hand and sat by me in the office and he looked at the photos about 23 times while running his finger over parts of them and asking me what that thing was (a street light) and then he raised up the book and kissed it–right on the photo of our dog!

Next we got to go to Topiwo’s home.  And this part needs its own series, people and I’m going to do my best to cram it into one long, everwordy post. So grab a coffee, run to the bathroom  and get ready to be astonished…. this is gonna be worth it, as long as I don’t wreck it all up.  I will never forget this as long as I shall live…

And for the record, I’ve always said, you never really know a person until you’ve been in their home or at least I’m saying it starting today.

After four days of walking over urban dirt roads and paths littered with trash, visiting children in concrete homes crammed close together we found ourselves in this pristine, pure, open plain at the foot of some mountains…

here’s a few seconds of our walk – it’s shaky but you get the idea::


And then we get to his home.

A handmade home.

And it is breathtaking.  He LIVES here. And it’s a simple hut made of stuff of the earth and it is humble and glorious all at the same time.  OH my goodness this child lives in a mud hut!  A real one!

And we meet his aunt (I think?) who he lives with.  Topiwo’s mother died when he was young.  His aunt is absolutely wonderful and we do not speak the same language in words but we do have an interpreter and I can tell by how she speaks and her eyes and her face that she is nothing but maternal and I am in love with her.  And disclaimer: they do not smile when they pose for photos so even though she looks a little stern as soon as she started speaking and the camera was down she came alive.

So Topiwo had a sponsor since 2005 (before our family) but for some reason they cancelled so now we get to be his sponsor.

She talked and talked and told us how Compassion has helped their family over the last seven years, and oh my goodness this is the part where I tried to hold back tears. That area of Tanzania has experienced drought so Compassion has supplied the family with food. Maasai live off the land so they are immediately affected by drought. Even though Topiwo is the one sponsored, Compassion visits the home of all their children (his last home visit was in April) and they assess any needs of the family because they want to make sure that no one goes without food and basic health care.

Because of Compassion, now Topiwo can go to school, have a uniform and a pair of shoes and even get tutoring for his studies.  I ask her what she hopes for Topiwo’s future and she says for him to do well in school and succeed in life. And Compassion gives him that chance.

Meanwhile all the neighbors and family have gathered. There are babies and children and men and women and they all seem to know that Topiwo’s sponsor is here and they want to meet us all and shake our hands and they are so gracious and mild mannered. I am so grateful for the community that Topiwo is surrounded with–there are so many people here that know him and love him!  Such a different feel from the home yesterday.

We went inside the circular mud hut, it had a fire pit in the middle, a damp dirt floor, no windows at all–just a small hole and it’s really, really dark. There were two rooms and you could see thick branches like pillars holding up the structure from the inside and twigs and grass on the roof.  This is where they live.

he tried to look stern but this man was a sweetheart, patting Topiwo on the back from time to time

And we walked outside and you know what? As we were getting ready to leave I didn’t feel sad about where Topiwo lives.  I actually was incredibly happy for him because he is rich with love and community and joy and gracefulness.  Richer than a lot of people that I know.

Now if you have read this far this is where it gets worth it. On the outside of the home Topiwo had painted Psalm 23 and then his name and the names of others who live there.

Topiwo lives in a mud hut.

Do you remember how the 23rd Psalm starts?

Did I happen to mention that Topiwo lives in a mud hut? And that his family lives in Tanzania and didn’t have any food until Compassion stepped in?  This young man quietly declares his faith and I wondered about what message I am sending people when they walk through my front door?  Do I really believe that I have everything I need, or do I immediately launch into declaring what I don’t have and what isn’t good enough as soon as someone walks into my home?

This 15-year-old Tanzanian boy who lives in a mud hut is teaching me about how I think about my home and my life.

So I might get in trouble with Shaun Groves for doing this, I don’t know if we are allowed to be partial to a certain group of children but, I remember that Shaun said teenage boys are always the last to get picked for sponsorship.  So, as a mom of 3 boys in tween and teendom I stand on my soap box on behalf of the teenage boys who don’t currently have a sponsor and ask my fellow moms of boys :: will you and your boy sponsor a teenage boy today?

They are the near future of their community and are patiently waiting for us to release them from poverty.

And they also might teach you a thing or two about decorating.

**Photos by the fun and quirky and photogenic Keely Marie who does a great Kip voice.

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Nail Polish, Bubbles and $38

Today I want to tell you simply everything and then I keep sitting here looking at the computer and typing nothing. It’s just too much. And I can’t conjure up a great post and tie it neatly with the proverbial imperfectly beautiful bow.  I wish I knew some really great new, fancy, space age words that could somehow convince you beyond a shadow of a doubt how life altering it is for a child to be sponsored through Compassion International. Because when you see everything that we’ve seen in the past few days all you can think of is how much you want to do anything to make life better for these children living in poverty. And right now for me, that means using my words to help them and my computer clock says it’s 2:59 and my body clock says it’s too jet lagged and my Tanzania clock says  it’s 9:59 and I know I cannot do this.

I can’t write a compelling enough, good enough, worthy enough post of what we’ve seen. I wish my sister were here so she could make me laugh and then she could crank out a really beautifully crafted post and I could pretend I wrote it. But I also know you and I know you can make a decision to sponsor a child whether or not I use magical words because heart changing isn’t my job. It’s His.

I’ve walked on roads filled with trash, stepped over a muddy dirty bra on the ground, saw a baby crawling in 3 inches of mud (next to some kind of black duck squawking around) and then the baby grabbed a handful of mud and stuck it in its mouth.

I think tears have blurred up my eyes a thousand times today as children have greeted us with singing and grabbing for us to hold their hands. One pretty little girl politely punched another pretty little girl a little taller than herself just so she could get to hold my hand, and then smiled the most adorable smile {it’s exciting to have visitors}. Every person in our group had a swarm of little children around them grasping for hands and hugs and smiles–the children we met today were an extremely affectionate bunch.

The highlight of the day was being there as Amy met her sponsored child Mektreda and then getting to go with them to visit Mektreda’s home. It was a cinder block home that they rent and had a mattress and two plastic chairs and I think a table. Mektreda is one of five children, four of whom still live at home with their parents. The 17-year-old brother moved to the city to try to find work. Anyhow, Amy’s writing all about meeting her sponsored child at her blog so I beg of you, go read her story.  Really, all I want to do today is not write and tell you to go to Amy’s place.

a 30 second video of Mektreda and her new baby doll–her big sister ran and grabbed a wrap so she could wear the doll on her back just like all the real mammas click here to watch on you tube

And all I can think of is that if everyone could have witnessed that meeting and that home visit, everyone would immediately sponsor a child YESTERNOW .  The impact is unquestionable.  Children sponsored through Compassion can go to school (complete with uniforms) receive health care and learn about the biggest life changer–Jesus.  They have hope for a future and the parents have great hope for them as well–it really affects the entire family.

We spent a few hours with Mektreda’s family and learned how her mother helps to provide for them by roasting and packaging beans to sell at the local market. The daddy is handicapped but is able to repair shoes to help support the family too.  But still it’s not enough.

As for me, I feel like today my introversion has come out in full force.  I was able to be a fly on the wall and just watch the unfolding of great story. And while Amy was inside giving a few more gifts to Mektreda and her family, I stayed outside with a bunch of adorable children.  I blew bubbles.  They blew bubbles.  They popped bubbles tirelessly.  Then they popped more.

Then I pulled out the big guns–my blue nail polish.

I’ve never had so much fun painting nails in all of my life.  I painted the tiniest, darkest, sandiest little toenails you’ve ever seen.  It’s something I’ve never gotten to do, you know, since I have three boys. I never actually painted a child’s nails before. But today  I painted little girls’ toenails, little boys’ toenails, infant toenails and a young mother’s toenails.  It was glorious. And for some reason is one of the highlights of the trip so far.

I feel so helpless with my keyboard and blue nail polish and measly $38 sponsorship.  But I also feel so happy that my $38 is made HUGE when it’s in the hands of Compassion International.


I know you’ve been thinking about it, haven’t you?  I know you’ve been meaning to talk to your husband or let your kids help pick out which child you want to sponsor. I know because I put off sponsoring our first child for a year.  I had great intentions, I followed the bloggers and read the posts and thought, “YES, this is AMAZING, I am so going to sponsor a child tomorrow!”  But time passed and good intentions were forgotten and it wasn’t until a year later, when I followed the next blogger trip when I realized that if I didn’t just go right then and look at that page full of waiting faces and pick out a little child to sponsor that it would never happen. Don’t be like me.  So go ahead and do it now, because I promise you will thank me later.  Click here to sponsor a child through Compassion International.

Hosting A Girl’s Weekend

I hosted a girls weekend at my house last week and it was pure, unadulterated, 100% enjoyment–even the getting ready for six girls to be at my house all weekend.  I love hosting LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  I try to focus on doing things I like and I try to avoid doing things I hate–even when it comes to hosting.  I’ve learned that I enjoy decorating for a party with easy creative designs and I enjoy being able to cook for everyone but not to the point where it keeps me in the kitchen.

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