leather applique

I picked up a bag of scrap leather a while ago, and have just been sitting on it, trying to figure out what to do with it.  What do you make with leather odds and ends?

A wallet for Raul?  But it was too thick to fold/close.

A mouse pad?  It was an odd-shaped scrap, so it wouldn’t quite work :(

A world pillow?  Because how rad would that be.  But can you quilt with leather?  Shrug.

Sooooooo, finally I just decided the leather was better chopped into 1/2″ strips for some experimenting, that just sitting dormant in the closet.

I decided to try a map, but had to improvise a bit.


I can’t even begin to express how excited I was when I was putting this together, row by row, and realized it was WORKING!

LEATHER world map pillow

LEATHER world map pillow

Awesome, right?  So I’m giving one away over on instagram.  This giveaway is a little bit different.  Rather than entering yourself to win, you can enter your friends to win!  Someone who you love and admire.  Someone who you think deserves a win.


Leave a comment on my giveaway post, tagging a friend, and telling them how they make the world a better place.  That’s it.

LEATHER world map pillow


First, let me just say, people make selfies look so easy, but they’re really not.

why I don't wear makeup

But I’m not here to talk about selfies, I’m here to talk about makeup.  Or the lack thereof.

When I turned fourteen I was allowed to start wearing makeup.  I have three older sisters, and most of my friends had been wearing makeup for years, so I felt ready for this step up in my life.  I started with the basics (most likely green sparkly eyeshadow, clunky mascara, and bright blush, am I right?!), and would bring a little with me to school for some fine-tuning throughout the day.  After about a week or two I realized a few things:

1. I felt like I couldn’t touch my face or I’d smudge my masterpiece  2. I was waking up really early to put it on  3. I didn’t necessarily feel any different about myself, with or without the makeup

So, I stopped.  Just like that.  I traded in my makeup for a little more sleep, and the freedom to rub my itchy eyes whenever I please.  I have seasonal allergies, so that’s a biggie, for me.

To be completely honest, I never even noticed.  I’d just get up and go.  Until one day, in tenth grade.  I was in class, and we were having an emotional lesson, I wish I could remember the topic, but basically, every girl in the room, myself included, was sobbing.  As I looked around with my wet eyes, I noticed that all the other girls kept wiping the mascara from under their eyes, without much success.  That was the first time I really realized how freeing it was to have a naked face.  Life was just… simple.

Years later, when Rauland and I were newly dating, we were cuddled up on the couch (aaaaw) when he sat up, looked me square in the face, squinted his eyes, and then asked, “Do you wear makeup?”  I was completely taken off guard, and felt little self-conscious, because I never thought about it.  When I answered “no” he smiled, relaxed back into the couch, and whispered, “that’s really cute”.  And that’s when I knew we were meant to be together.  Okay, not really, but I was glad he appreciated that little part of me.

With the exception of a little bit on my wedding day, I haven’t worn makeup since I was fourteen years old.  Not because I was just born with it.  Because I’m pretty plain Jane.  Not because I have any opposition to makeup, the makeup industry, or the beautiful women who wear it.  Because I don’t.  At all.  I choose not to wear makeup because I’m comfortable and happy without it.  And basically, just because I’m lazy.

I have freckles.  Not the cute, bold kind; the kind that give an uneven skin tone.  But every once in a while someone notices them, like, someone who I’ve been friends with a long time, and they have one of those “how did I never notice that” moments, which just makes me smile.

I have dark circles under my eyes that make me look tired all the time.  But I got those from my gorgeous grandmother.

I have crows feet.  But they’re my smile lines.  I expect a whole lot more wrinkles in my future, and the truth is, I don’t want to be young forever. I want to live a good, long, happy life.

I barely have eyebrows.  But at least I don’t have to pluck them!

I have little eyes and blonde lashes.  But they’re MY little eyes and blonde lashes.


“Women are beautiful. They only think they need makeup.”

-Rauland (my stud of a husband)

WHITESPACE on the blog, in the shop, and in life



I used to spend a lot more time here, on the ol’ blog.  I could spend hours and hours giving it facelifts: pinning and tucking the sidebars, the fonts, the archives.  In search of my own style, I’d peruse other blogs and websites to try to mimic this or that element of their space.  Then, after all the time I put into it, I’d get bored of my design, and start over.  Ridiculous.

And that’s not even the most of it, I also spent who-knows-many-hours, working on free tutorials and e-courses over the last year and a half.  Projects that I didn’t need to do, but thought readers might like.

I had people visiting, commenting, pinning, and even recreating my projects.  I loved that!  But it just wasn’t my thing.  Most of what I made, I didn’t keep, and one day I realized, if I don’t care about this stuff, why would anyone else?  So I decided to start honing my energy into something that meant something to me, and I did a little spring cleaning in my life, and on my blog.  I’m sure you noticed (if you still even read this blog) that I traded in my crafting shoes for entrepreneurial ones.  This space shifted gears from Yellow Spool: one of thousands of sewing tutorial sites, to Yellow Spool: quilted maps.

I found something that made my heart sing!  I moved this blog from the homepage, to an archive page, making room for a new shop.  I decluttered the face of my webspace, omitting gadgets and frills for whitespace and simple functionality.  I stopped worrying about whether or not people liked the content of the blog, and starting focusing on whether or not I like the overall content of my LIFE.  I took control to do what I want to do, and you know what?  It feels awesome.

I think the most valuable outcome from all of this, however, is the whitespace I’ve been able to introduce into my real life.


So, I don’t know if that’s a real quote or if I made it up, but it’s true, either way.  I used to steal time for this blog.  I would steal it from my kids, every time I told them “five more minutes, I’m almost done, and then I’ll come play”.  I would steal time from my husband when I sat at the computer editing photos at night instead of turning my chair around to have a real conversation with him.  I think the biggest change in my life the past few months is that I’ve promised to make time, rather than steal it.  I have set up “work hours” for myself that I really try to stick to.  This means I wake up really early every morning so I can work for a few hours before my kids wake up, and  I work through their napping hours.  If I’m not “on the clock” I try not to think about Yellow Spool, so I can enjoy my little cutie pies.  And man, are they worth it!

confession \\ downsizing

downsizing \\ yellow spool

downsizing \\ yellow spool

downsizing \\ yellow spool

Over the past five years or so, I’ve become what might be verging on minimalist.  I don’t know what qualifies someone as an actual “minimalist”, nor do I care, but this is a topic that I’ve had on the mind quite a bit lately.  I’m almost constantly analyzing my space and wondering what I need and what I can do without.  Are my minifying habits unhealthy?  Ungrateful?  Irresponsible?

As newlyweds, my husband and I had a lot of stuff.  Clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets, clothes, books, shoes, more clothes… you get it. After several moves I started to feel silly about the large boxes dedicated entirely to things like winter accessories, and picture frames.  Things that we didn’t NEED.  I started to get rid of things.  A lot of things.

At first, Rauland thought it was a little silly.  So while I purged my un-necessaries, he hung on to his trinkets.  Soon he started to see that maybe less really is more, and together, we made a lifestyle choice.  If we didn’t need it or use it, we didn’t really keep it.  Boy Scouts everywhere would grimace at how ill-prepared this mentality is.  (That said, we do have basic camping gear, 72 hour kits, and a decent food storage).

The photos above show our clothes rack.  What you see is both mine and Rauland’s entire wardrobes.  That’s not entirely true, our jackets are in the coat closet, and we have a few items in the laundry, but basically, yes, that is what we wear.  My personal wardrobe breakdown is as follows:

Shirts: 10
Sweaters/cardigans: 5
Dresses: 5
Skirts: 5
Pants/shorts: 4
Pajama pants: 3
Pajama shirts: 5
Shoes: 6 pair (running, loafers, sandals, rain boots, 2 dress flats)
Sweatshirts/coats: 4

You think I’m crazy, don’t you?  The truth is, I love having a simple closet.  Getting ready is easy.  I love the things I own.  Laundry is never a real hassle.

But this trend extends farther than my wardrobe.  For instance, we only have 4 dinner plates.  We decided if we were ever going to be feeding more than four people we’d just assume use paper plates, because we’re lazy like that.  I don’t want to wash more dishes than I have to.  With the exception of a few wall hangings we got for our wedding, we don’t have decorations.  We “decorate” with the things we use.  I think it’s part of what drove me to open my shop.  I see beauty in functional art.  And to me, quilts and pillows are absolutely functional.

See, the way we see it we’re simplifying our lives by only keeping the important stuff.  But I don’t think outsiders always see it that way.  I worry that our friends and family find us difficult to shop for, because they know we’re particular about the things we keep around the house.  This.  THIS is the entire reason I ever question our lifestyle choice.  I hate feeling like we’re ungrateful recipients.

So here’s my question: does downsizing make someone a big fat heartless jerk?  Or is it understandable that we all choose to live our own ways?
And I’d love to know: are you a hoarder or a purger? What’s your story?