Thursday, December 13, 2012

DIY- Chalk Board Paint Mug

'Tis the Season

Want to make a great gift for a great cheap price?

For my friends this year, I am making chalk board mugs. They are a cheap, decorative little gift idea that you can fill with chocolate or other nifty little gadgets, that people are sure to love.

I feel like I don't really even need to make a DIY for this craft, because I mainly wanted to share the idea with you and it's so simple I feel like it speaks for itself.

All you need is a cheap dollar store mug and chalk board paint, which you can get for cheap at any hardware store.

Just dip your mug in the paint and let it dry.

Voila! Cheap. Crafty. Cute.

Don't forget to put a stick of chalk in every mug!

xoxox Lauren Desiree

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

Autumn Indies Festival

There were many days in Autumn that were particularly close to my heart. One of my all time favorites though had to be when we went to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, and it was a blast. From the collection of eclectic folk, to pink dogs, to the smoke rising through sun light filtering through the giant trees, to the gorgeous voices of the two angels in the Civil Wars- I don’t know that I can say that I’ve had such a great time in a while.
I love concerts in the woods. I love sitting knee to knee with people. I like when gingers with full beards clear out a place for you to stretch your knees without you even asking them. And I love how friendly people are, and how they climb trees, and hum and sway along to the music.
And I love the smokey smell, mixing with pine, and the booths, and plaid.
It was just so good.
It was a really great time too, that aside, because I got to spend it with a new friend that I had made over the summer. My new buddy Jordan Woodruff quickly became like the older brother that I never had. He came down from Tennessee to do some work in California for the election, and moved into the Young Life house where I spent most of my time in the summer and autumn months.
Turned out that he was a huge fan of the folk and indies scene, and it worked perfectly for us, because he was the one who clued us in to this Hardly Strictly Bluegrass fest in the first place.
The Civil Wars were coming and we couldn't miss them.

Delightful Diversity

It was a very interesting group of us who ended up going.

We had a politician, numerous musicians, actresses, and our friend who had recently immigrated from the Middle east.

I'd have to say though that while anywhere else we would have stood out, at the festival we blended in. The folks that filled the park were probably my favorite part. I think that different is beautiful. There were so many people from so many different walks of life.

There were people who were dancing and having a good time down by the stage, older folks who were sitting up in the trees with their long beards, kids piled along the fences, and I sat behind a couple of guys with their long beards, girls with chain crowns, and an older woman who was sitting on her own and knitting.

People were just genuinely kind to everyone around them. They were sharing, so open to conversation, and everyone was smiling and laughing.

All of the bands that played were good, but from the very beginning I was most excited for the Civil Wars.

I think the crowd was on my side too, because it increased two fold and soon the forest housed almost five thousand people.

The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars were fantastic. I have such a newfound respect for them, because I can say with confidence that they are even better live then they are on their cd. They are just charming and so fun to watch and listen to.

I haven't heard such haunting music in a long time.

The crowd was absolutely mesmerized by them, as they played to the setting sun.

They even admitted that we were the largest crowd that they had ever played for.

I feel so blessed that I was able to see him, especially since they recently split up due to artistic differences- which by the way, broke my heart.

After the concert we decided to go to Ocean beach. It was already dark, but the sky was clear, so we could see all of the stars over the ocean. We played in the water and ran around the beach, and just marveled at how beautiful the horizon was. The soles of my stockings were soaked. But it was just too gorgeous out.
And finally we closed the night with Pier 39. It just so happened that it’s fleet week this week too, so it was funny watching all of the navy boys karaokeing and just enjoying their time off (the ones that weren’t drunk anyways). But instead of partaking in their roudy making, we went to Boudin and had ourselves some chowder bowls.

It was a great night.
Couldn’t have asked for more!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Feature: Wreath Making - Amy Merrick

'Tis the Season

If you're anything like me, you love to decorate for Christmas.

I'm personally crazy about any opportunity that I have to decorate anything. You better believe that it didn't matter if I had studying to do, when my family decided it was the day to do our decorating, I popped a log in the grate, turned on Home Alone and got to work.

However my decorating style is much different than my parents.

I love to work with natural fibers. I will have a real tree when I've got my own house, and I'm already starting an ornament collection of whittled wooden animals and gnomes.

That's probably why I am so entranced by Amy Merrick's beautiful and natural wreaths.

Natural Beauty

Amy uses only natural branches to make real, living wreaths. She uses a base of grape vine and wraps everything together in a delicate way. Her wreaths don't overwhelm a space, their simplicity just adds to and highlights your current decor, while still paying homage to the Christmas spirit.

Another great thing about them, is that you can use them long into spring, because they add that simple lifelike green element to a room.
It's pretty cold and grey outside today and will probably rain, so I know that I'm going to use Amy's wreaths as inspiration to make my own and have a nice excuse to stay warm and busy inside. Luckily the pine tree in my backyard won't miss a few sprigs. 
Amy Merrick is a stylist and florist in New York city, so if you're in the Brooklyn area, she's putting on a wreath making class/seminar! Check it out!

She truly is a talented lady!

Lauren Desiree

Deerest's Love and Dating

 My Not So Sumptuous Summer Dating

I know you all are expecting a very interesting dish of who's been striking my fancy, or what's been going on in my dating universe, so I think that you'll all be very disappointed to know that... well, nothing has been.

And I will now shock you all, by saying- I genuinely have never been happier.

Before becoming a Christian, I found all of my affirmation and self worth in men. When I learned at Coloma the gravity of God's love for me, my entire way of thinking changed. I no longer had that pounding desire to be with someone. Suddenly I found myself delighting in my own leadership skills, excited by what God was doing in my life, and intrigued by things that I suddenly wanted to do solo that I had never done before.

Being in relationships my whole life, made me feel bogged down and dependent, and I finally felt and continue to feel free.

After my life changing experience at Coloma, I have only dated one person, and I was very intentional with him from the beginning. He was very well respected in the church, lived at an open house where people were constantly in fellowship, had an accountability group and aside from our few dates, we never spent any time alone together. I really prided myself in doing that relationship right from the very beginning.

Even though it didn't work out, I am happy that I now I know that I am very capable of doing things the right and Godly way next time I meet someone I'm serious about.

Intentionality is a huge thing for me now.

But just so that ya'll don't think that my new, Christian dating experience was boring- take a look at a couple photos from our dates. We were purveyors of some very delicious late night coffee shops in the city, enjoyed a very spur the moment beach trip near midnight to Ocean Beach and ran in the water and the heavy mist that had us totally soaked through, and tried some amazing Arabic food in the Indies part of the city, and a fancy designer dessert place called The Candy Bar, which sparked my new found love of maccaroons and honey dew ice cream.

I must say, I certainly enjoyed this way of dating, more than any empty way I tried before.

Lauren Desiree

American River Revival

An Unlikely and Unexpected Trip

If you asked me at the beginning of the summer why I wanted to go to the Coloma Summer Retreat with the college ministry of Kairos, I would have told you that I had absolutely no idea. I was in a bad place spiritually, suffering from complacency and ennui, and I was just feeling very down cast. I had previously become a Christian the summer before, and was baptized in the very same place on the American River. So I argued with myself that it was most likely sentimentality that was drawing me to go back up to the  gorgeous forest, to help set up a tent with a group of girls that I didn't know well, and sit with a bunch of strangers once every evening to listen to the youth pastor speak.

A Rocky Start

Naturally nothing happened easily. 
Within the first two hours of getting to camp, we realized that the zipper on our tent was broken, so to fix it, we had to grab duct tape and skewers to sew it together. Not exactly protection from the elements, or skunks which were running rampant in the night.
Then our stove blew up. Literally caught on fire and started spewing it everywhere, so one of the guys (Buzz) from the camp next to ours had to figure out how to get it out, without seriously causing it to explode.
A hippy's off leash dog ate our bacon.
And we forgot an axe for our fire wood.
Plus one of the girls that I was tenting with was already starting to complain about wanting to go home.
I was beginning to really doubt my reasoning for why I had come on this trip.

The Heart Melting Experience

But God really had a purpose for me to be there at the retreat. When worship started, something about being surrounded by the trees and nature, and a huge group of brothers and sisters in Christ, really started to do something to my heart. The sun was setting all golden over the tops of the trees, the dust was trembling in the air, the geese were grazing down on the grass by the waterfront, and all around me, people were raising their voices in worship to God.
And when Pastor Phil stood up to speak- it was exactly what I needed to hear.


We hear a lot about Jesus's sacrifice, but sometimes we forget about what it means to us, or sometimes our hearts become numb to it.  When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are essentially saved from death, and saved from the sins of our past, our present, and our future. 
Imagine this. You are starving, so you steal some bread. You are caught, torn away from your family, and put in prison. The warden is a ruthless and unjust slaver, and he forces you to work to pay off your debt and bail, but all you make each day are pennies and dimes, and what you owe is unpayable in your life time. You live your life in rags, with shackles on your wrists, completely hopeless.
Until one day, a rich man, a King, comes into your prison cell and says, "I want that one."
This King is glorious, from a distant land, sparkling with jewels and diamonds. You can't even look into His face, because you are so ashamed of your poverty. But He takes you by the hand, says your name, and pays   your debt.
What's more, He brings you back to His kingdom, and instead of making you a slave for Him, He dresses you in riches and adopts you into His family and gives you everything forever and ever.
I had never thought of my life like that before. But it became so apparent that night in the warm summer evening.
The Sacrifice. What everything meant for me. How thankful I should be.


From that point on, my entire trip was changed. 
I really understood and got it, and my attitude changed from one of anxiety and grumpiness, to complete thankfulness for everything that I had.
As night fell, we divided into two main places to hang out. The main camp fire where folks sat around and played games like Mafia into the early hours, or the campfire at our camp site, where people gathered with their guitars and played and sang worship songs late into the night.

Sweet Summer Fun

The rest of the trip was a mix of relaxation, meeting new people, and just praising God for who He is. Our campfire became the designated site for worship, and there was a running joke that somewhere around there were at least three guitars going at once.
In the afternoons we sat around and talked, but the main attraction was taking tire tubes and going down the rapids!
The water was lower this year than the year before, so the trip down the American River wasn't quite so perilous as before, but of course, quite a few people were thrown out of their tubes and got bruises and battle scars to show for it.
Then late at night we would always go for night hikes. We went all the way down to the place where we get out of our tubes on the water, and in the pitch black beneath this bridge, myself and at least twenty other people lay back on the rocks and stared in silence across the water, dappled with the light of the moon and stars. It was almost inevitable that someone would begin to pray and soon we were all just speaking words of prayer together as we took in the beauty of that night.

Baptism of My Brother & My Brothers and Sisters

The last day before we headed back home, was the baptisms. 
It was amazing seeing so many new friends and old ones being baptized, to symbolize their dedication and new life as followers of Christ. Hearing a lot of their testimonies for the first time was hard, because I learned so much about where these people had been in their lives, and what Jesus had saved them from.
Among them was my little brother Jordan.
He gave his life to Christ well before I did, so I looked up to him as a spiritual leader even though he was younger than me. Seeing him being baptized by his mentor was a very proud moment for me as his sister.
The little boy that I knew, who was the front man of a hard core band, who made a lot of mistakes in his youth... I really got a chance this year to see him turn into a real man, and a real man of God.
Baptisms were very emotional for me.
I am so happy for everyone who was there to hear their testimonies, and those who were ready to take that outward step to show their dedication to following Jesus.

Farewell, But Not Goodbye

Coloma was an amazing experience this year, just as it was last year. 
In retrospect though, this one was much more meaningful, and I believe it was a huge catalyst for change in my life, not just an experience.
It motivated me to take God seriously, to not take my salvation for granted, and to really be thankful for what I have in Christ-
For my adoption as His child.

I can only continue to pray that every year, more and more people will be touched as I have been, by the retreat, the wonderful Godly people there, and that God will continue to reveal Himself.

Lauren Desiree

Deer Little Mysteries Returns

I Am So Happy To Be Home

Well Hello my Petite Cheri's!
It has certainly been much too long, and for that alone I apologize!
I do hope that you aren't too angry with my absence, that you still remember me, and that we may all still be wonderful friends!
If we haven't met yet, my name is Lauren Desiree, and I am an enthusiast of all things, vintage, velvet, sweet, and folky.
Deer Little Mysteries is a cozy little nest for all of my adventures, finds, and just a place where I can remember the joys of my day to day with you, my dear sweet friends.

Fresh, Fantastic Adventures

So I suppose the big question is, wherever have I been?
Ahh, 2012 has certainly been one of the biggest years for me. I feel terrible that I started this blog out, met all of you, and then disappeared so suddenly!
The girl you all met at the start of the year, was unfortunately very lost, and needed time to fight some battles before she felt strong enough to continue on supporting this blog, and all of you.
Luckily though, a trip to New York for my birthday in May, and a fresh strong pull on my heart strings from God, expanded my world and refocused my direction.
So where have I been?
Since getting my life back on track and putting God where He's supposed to be, at the center of my world, my life has been nothing but a giant adventure. Summer saw many trips, from the American River, to trips to the San Fran beach in the dead of night, to bonfires nearly every night, to Bluegrass festivals in Golden Gate Park, and quad running on the Oregon sand dunes. 
I have made friends with many new wonderful people, I mentor kids, and I recently left my job at my favorite kitschy import store World Market, and now I waitress so I can put away money for two trips that I am hoping are in my near future! Our ministry's Jamaica Mission Trip 2013, and a trip to Israel and Jordan in the winter of 2013.

What Does All of This Mean For Deer Little Mysteries?

It simply means this:
I'm back again with a passion, and a hundred stories to tell to you absolutely lovely folks who have been here for me through everything, and to all of the great new friends that are to be made.
Things will most likely be a bit different for a while, because I no longer have a working professional camera, so while I start saving for one, I'm going to just be putting up past pictures, and current photos from my phone and back up camera. 
I have a feeling that outfit posts will be a bit sparing at first, and this will become more of a personal blog for a time, until I reobtain the resources I need to create great DIY and Outfit posts with the quality that you deserve.
But contests will be running soon, I will most likely be selling again soon from my vintage shop, and I am always so excited to hear from you and become reaquainted!

So Please Don't Be Shy!

Say hello!

I have certainly missed you!

Lauren Desiree

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rain Boot Planters DIY

Have kids and a surplus of rain boots that just don't fit, and take up space in your closet?

I don't!

But I was browsing pinterest and I came across this photo and thought it was the cutest idea in the whole world! I myself have only one pair of rain boots, and they were hand-me-downs, but I imagine for mommys with kids who are just growing like giants every year, this may be a great use for their little rain boots.

Especially with summer coming up in a few days, there probably won't be a need for them anyways!

 This project is fairly self explanatory, and doesn't really need instructions at all.

I figured I'd just share these photos with you for inspiration.

All you really need are rain boots and seasonal flowers. My green thumb is terrible, so I just purchase flowers that will last me through the summer, since I can't get anything to grow on my own, and I imagine that it would be a little tougher to get flowers to grow from seedlings, when the tops of the boots block out the sun light.

But anyways, this is such an adorable idea, and whoever came up with it, deserves an award for cutest thing ever!