Failure and envy and moving on

churchill quote // a thousand threads
Lately I’ve noticed, to my dismay, that every time I post a picture on Instagram, I both gain and lose one follower — like I’m stuck in some social media purgatory where the mediocre bloggers go to die. I guess I’m lucky that I’m not just losing them in droves, but it eats at me. It eats at me like the little green monster that wishes it had the talent of some and the luck of others… the same little green monster that just gets mad and doesn’t bother to look around for some perspective.

… and sometimes it eats at me so much it makes me want to erase everything I just wrote, put big black censor bars over the top and pretend I’ve got it all figured out.

Except I don’t.

… I didn’t get into any of the PhD programs I applied to.

I have a lot of excuses lined up to recite whenever someone asks: I applied to the toughest programs; I needed funding; my GPA and experience are good, but they’ll never stand up to the many applications I read every month from plucky potential interns with straight A’s and internships at the UN.

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A farmhouse dinner to welcome the spring

a farmhouse dinner for spring // a thousand threads
On Saturday evening, Mark and I were lucky enough to join a wonderful group of friends for a potluck dinner in this beautiful place.

The dinner was organized by Melissa, one of the absolute loveliest people I’ve gotten to know through blogging, and attended by friends both old and new. We gathered in a little farmhouse on 1100 acres of rolling green hills, rivers, and more wide open space than I can even begin to fathom, owned by a monastery with a long, beautiful history and farmed by Melissa’s father.

The place is quiet and beautiful and the company was warm and inviting. Mark and I brought along pie, and Rebecca brought along two delicious salads, along with (even more importantly) the most adorable guest of the evening. The table was filled with fresh farm beef and beautiful juicy tomatoes, and though our dreams of dining outdoors were dashed by the wind, the cozy dining room made for the perfect spot for conversation.

We laughed and dined well into the evening, already planning the next event by the time this one came to an end…

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DIY all-purpose cleaner

diy all-purpose cleaner // a thousand threads
Just in case you haven’t already noticed, spring is here! And that means it’s time to spring clean. But just because you want to give everything a good scrub doesn’t mean you want it to smell like you did – and that’s not even mentioning the way that harsh cleaning products can make your skin feel.

That’s why lately we’ve been experimenting with making our own cleaning products. It’s easier than you’d ever think, cheaper than buying the stuff in the store, and they work great!

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52 dates // 15

52 dates // a thousand threads
The date // Custard!
The place // Jimmie Cone
The choice // Vanilla with rainbow jimmies for her, chocolate/vanilla swirl with chocolate jimmies for him.

This weekend we saw our first 80 degree days of the year… the perfect spring kind without humidity or thundering rain. On Sunday, we wandered around our beautiful little town, bought some records, ate dinner outside, and took our first trip to Jimmie Cone (a local institution that’s packed from April to October every year).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I just don’t know how I ever lived before there was custard in my life.

And I’m so glad the cold winter is gone…

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Practice makes perfect

// a thousand threads
So I’ve wanted, needed a Wacom for something like a million years now. I just knew it would change my life, the beautiful things I would create — I was sure I was only an Amazon purchase away from pure brilliance. So I finally broke down and made it happen.

Earlier this week, the Wacom showed up on my doorstep all shiny and new, just begging for me to break it out and get the party started. So I did… and let’s just say the experience has been something like that time when I really really wanted to bust out a canvas and paint…

Even though I hadn’t picked up a paint brush since preschool.

Holy wow you guys, you don’t realize how much all of that type typing away is crushing your motor handwriting skills until you try to go all crazy with a Wacom. Cursive? What is that? So there might be a little bit of a learning curve, but hey, that’s what this space is all about, right? I’ve been learning here with all of you on a pretty steep learning curve since 2011, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed the ride as much as I have. For me, it always goes back to this Ira Glass quote. If you know what you want it to be, and you work hard, you’ll get there.

So I changed things up a little bit on my Friday links this week with the vast scribble skills I’ve acquired so far — and hey, it’s something right? Next stop, masterpiece.

Maybe I’ll get in a little more practice this weekend. Tell me, do you have any big plans?

P.S. Does this mean I also won’t have Melissa Esplin-like calligraphy skills if I pick up a pen?


Eye this lovely artists loft in Berlin.

Buy this Steven Alan quilt on sale!

Make these beautiful onion-dyed flags. (And check out the rest of Cassie’s amazing wedding DIYs while you’re there, I’m kind of obsessed.)

Bake these tasty looking buttermilk cakes.


Definitely reserving judgement until there’s more than a trailer, but I thought this commentary on the “American Blogger” controversy was very thoughtful.

Also thoughtful — this article via Cup of Jo.

Some of you out there are Wacom masters, and to you I say this. But seriously, wow Corina this typeface is beautiful.

If this works, I might die of excitement.

This camp wedding really is dreamy.


Ladder love

ladder love // a thousand threads
I can’t honestly remember a time when I didn’t want a library ladder in my life. Whether in the kitchen, the bedroom, or an actual library, none of that ever really mattered, just as long as the ladder led to something really great (amazing secret hideaway loft anyone?).

These days we don’t exactly have the kind of cavernous space a library ladder might need, but there are plenty of other ways to work a little bit of ladder into the decor. Here are a few I’ve seen and liked lately, although I’ll admit in internet time I’m probably something like 40 years behind. We’ll just call it a classic trend.

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Earl Grey tea-infused scones

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

earl grey tea-infused scones // a thousand threads
With Easter and Mother’s Day right around the corner, brunch season is officially upon us. And you won’t hear me complain. Any excuse to eat late and drink early is one I’ll take — so brunch is hands down my favorite meal. And scones, to me, are a quintessential brunch food. But these aren’t just your average scones. They’re packed with a hefty dose of Bigelow Tea‘s Earl Grey — enough to leave that pretty speckled evidence behind — and the flavor will blow your guests away. Not to mention the delicate, crispy crustiness that’s just perfect alone (maybe with a little bit of tea on the side?) or as part of a bigger, more elaborate meal.

Bigelow might be a big name, but they’ve remained a family owned, American business, with good quality, dependable tea that stays fresh thanks to Bigelow’s handy foil pouch…

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Here & there

here & there // a thousand threads
A little wrap-up of our lives these past few months — according to our phones.

Some of these shots came from Instagram, some never made it that far — but I’m surprised at how good a picture of our day to day our phones have managed to record. A little bit of exploring, some cozy days in, Saturday morning breakfasts and signs of spring… it’s all in there. Even though I sometimes wish I could escape the connectivity, I’m thankful that these days we’re able to capture the little bits and pieces of our lives that we might’ve missed before.

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52 dates // 14

wayne white exhibit // 52 dates // a thousand threads
The date // A visit to Wayne White’s exhibit at York College.

“Follow your heart, and your pleasure in art. Don’t do what you think is going to be making you money, or what you’re parents want you to do, or what that beautiful girl or guy thinks you should be doing. Do what you love. It’s going to lead to where you want to go. Go out there and make the world more beautiful. I know you can.” — Wayne White, “Beauty is Embarrassing

Mark and I have both been so inspired by Wayne White’s life and work that when we heard he would be doing a one month residency at York College, just a little over an hour up the road, we knew we had to go. Wayne himself gave a talk on Wednesday that I’m sad we couldn’t make, but I was ecstatic just to get to see his exhibit.

We went late on Saturday — meaning we were a little late to see his new Civil War exhibit (we’ll have to make another trip of it — maybe with Austin next time), but also meaning we had the whole place to ourselves…

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// a thousand threads
I’m trying to concentrate on serious things. I am. But I keep feeling my fingers creep over to the search bar to plan…

Yesterday we made it official — later this year, we’re planning to take a trip to Ireland and the south of France. Ireland with my family. (My great grandfather grew up in County Cork, and my father’s never been, so it’s something of a requirement that we get him there eventually. I’m so happy to say that we’ll finally be able to make it happen.) And France for us. (A short getaway to the sun and the sand and the lavender fields of the south. We haven’t left the country since our honeymoon, and we’re both feeling the itch for a nice, relaxing getaway.)

So you’ll excuse me if I can’t quite concentrate on the task at hand. My head is already on a plane, dreaming of the beautiful places I can’t wait to see.

Have you been to either place? I’d love to have your recommendations if you have! I’ve been to Ireland once but it’s been quite some time, and I’ve never been to the south of France.


Eye the Fresh Exchange’s updates from Spain — more fuel for my wanderlust.

Buy this perfect, easy spring/summer dress.

I’ve been dying to make a copper clothing rack like this for a while.

Bake this awesome chickpea tofu.


Frustrated that women continue to have such a hard time competing in professional kitchens, but inspired by this profile of Barbara Lynch.

Joy the Baker is brilliant (and on point).

Reflections from Maria Popova of Brain Pickings on 7 years of blogging.

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