Friday, September 30, 2011

Idols

This morning when I sat down to have my time with the Lord, I felt like there was a wall. Something hasn't been right.

He soon revealed to me that this blogging thing has become an idol.

I don't want to blog out of necessity- necessity to "up" my numbers, keep readers interested, perfect my "artsy" image. I want to blog when HE lays something on my heart, when I feel right about it. I'm sure not everything will be profoundly spiritual. I don't want to have an agenda or a set schedule.

I don't want to be consumed by blogging. I want to be consumed by my gracious, merciful, loving Savior.

If we're not careful, we can quickly allow something good that God has blessed us with to become too much. To become our focus. To become our identity.


I thought of this song on my playlist below (it's #3). This is my prayer for my life...

Take my heart, I Lay it down
At the feet of you whose crowned
Take my life, I’m letting go
I lift it up to You who’s throned

And I will worship You, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You Lord

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
You're my delights, be my everything

And It’s just you and me here now
Only you and me here now

You should see the view
When it’s only You



love.
Natalie

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bonhomie Jewelry

Hi friends! I have a special and very talented jewelry artist friend to introduce you to today! Kirstie and I "met" about a year ago through etsy's holiday boot camp, which is a series of challenges given by etsy to keep you focused and motivated during the holiday season (we were boot camp buddies). :) Here's a little bit about her...
hey, all! my name is kirstie, the artist behind bonhomie jewelry and i'm honored to be here! i had the pleasure of 'meeting' natalie last winter and i'm so glad i did! she has such a wonderful spirit and her work is fabulous :-)
but i guess i'm supposed to be telling you about me.......let's see....above all else, i am a child of God. i wouldn't be here, doing what i do, without His grace. i'm married to an incredibly supportive man and i'm mom to a kindergartener. i'm a self-taught jewelry artist and struggle continually with finding my balance within these roles. but when it works, it really works!
i love the jewelry i create! my pieces are keepsakes. they're meaningful pieces that mix and blend with the everyday and with the upscale! i believe that the jewelry a person wears should say something about who they are and what kind of life they lead. i'm constantly thinking about new designs and i love to do custom work.
i hope you find the piece that speaks to you!
~in everything you do, be brilliant~
 Isn't her jewelry beautiful?! I love how she incorporates the Bible into her work. :)
Did you know there are celebrities (and children of celebrities) that own her jewelry, including Alicia Keys, Willow Smith, and Victoria Affleck?! Yeah... she left that part out.
Kirstie creates MUCH MORE than I can show you here,  and she has been so generous to offer my readers a 25% off discount code in both of her shops! Just type in POTTERY25 at checkout. If there's something that catches your eye, now is the time to buy! (and it's not too early to start thinking about Christmas either- only 88 more days!) :)
Visit her here:

The winner of the La Luce giveaway is the hollie rogue. Send me an email!

love.
Natalie

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Baker Recipe Video

Hi friends! I'm suuuuper busy today getting ready for a ladies shopping open house that's taking place in my community on Thursday! I need to bake cookies, make jewelry, and get things all organized and bubble-wrapped for transporting because tomorrow I have all kinds of other things to do. But, today is special because I'm sharing my first ever video on the blog! :)

Apple bakers are perfect for hostess or teacher gifts, especially for fall and winter when there's a chill in the air and local apples are readily available. They work wonderfully because the center post that you stick the apple on actually bakes the apple from the inside out.


They're super easy to use and don't take near as much time as baking a pie or cobbler if you just need a yummy dessert for yourself. I've found that a lot of people that I meet at shows don't know how to use an apple baker, so I put together a little video demonstration so you can see how it works. Oh, and try to ignore the little clicking sound of the video camera. (This is not professional television.) :) 




((video can be found on vimeo here))

All apple bakers in my shop come with a little recipe card. I actually made a double batch of filling because I had a pretty large apple, and it was plenty much. You could also change up the filling recipe if you wanted. Raisins would make a nice addition, I think.

If you want a good laugh, here's my first attempt at filming the demonstration. I was almost finished with the recipe, and the phone rang. I was NOT happy! Those who know me in real life but aren't reeeeally close will probably be a little shocked that I can act like this ;) hahaha... Oh, and the man you hear is my dad. :)




((video can be found on vimeo here))

That's the real me, folks! :)

Deep dish apple bakers can be found in my shop here. I currently have 6 glaze colors available. Get 'em while their hot. ;)

love.
Natalie

Monday, September 26, 2011

Changes


Hellooooo, friends! First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who filled out my survey. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! (and I was worried no one would do it) :) Some of your responses seriously almost made me cry.

On that note, I'm feeling like I need to make a few changes around here, so I want to give you all a heads up about what you can expect!

I decided to take sponsors off my blog. I treasure the relationships that I have made with many of those ladies on my sidebar, but I feel like all the features/giveaways were taking over my blog. I DON'T want people coming here just for the chance to win free stuff (but while you have the chance, you can enter my La Luce giveaway here if you haven't yet). I will still do giveaways, but probably just more of my own (because hopefully you all actually like what I make), and probably not as frequently (a few a month is just too much). I can definitely see sponsors in my future, but now is not the time. 

I hope to add question/answer sessions with some of my favorite bloggers/shop owners. There are many bloggers that I look up to who I think can offer great advice for all of us.

Someone mentioned in the poll that they would like to hear "etsy business details," so while I am NOT an expert by any means, I do feel like I have learned a lot since starting this little etsy venture just over a year ago. I would love to share words of wisdom and advice that I have learned because I remember how hard/scary/disappointing/EXCITING it all was in the beginning. If anyone has ANY questions about business (or really about anything), I would love to answer them. Sometimes I'm just not sure what you all want to know! Don't hesitate to ask. I would LOVE to be of help to any one of you.

Lastly, I think I'm going to discontinue my "Sunday Reflections" series because I feel like maybe it was a bit "preachy," and Lord knows, that is not my personality. (No one said anything about this, but it's just something I've been feeling in my heart.) Christ is still the foundation of my life, and my hope is that I can share on a more personal level about what He is teaching me in my life. 

I have a mega-list of ideas that I want to share with you all over the coming month (including my first ever VIDEO coming TOMORROW)! :) I want this to be a place that inspires you to change, to surrender, to follow your dreams (because God puts dreams inside of all of us!).

Thank you for your endless encouragement!!

love.
Natalie

p.s. I decided to add a playlist to my blog. I know some of you hate music on a blog, but I personally love it (and sometimes visit my favorite blog just to listen to her playlist). :) The music won't start automatically, so if you want to listen, just scroll to the bottom and hit "play."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reader Survey


I have to admit, I've been struggling recently with the content on my blog. I know I have to stay true to myself, but I would also like your input. If you are a regular NS Pottery reader (or even if you're not), I want to know why you take time out of your day to stop by my blog and what you would like to see more of or change. Would you mind taking a minute or two to fill out the survey below? Thanks, friends!!! xoxo







love.
Natalie

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

La Luce Feature & Giveaway

Hi friends!! I've got another fabulous sponsor to introduce you to today! Meet Ashley...


Hey beautiful ladies! My name is Ashley Marie Wilson of La Luce. I’m a total Jesus lover, a wife, and an artist. I share a lot of my journey and inspiration through my blog and I love photography, accessory design, style, writing, painting and anything creative. I have a shop full of unique style statement pieces that I design and personally handmake with love. Fashionista mamas will appreciate it because every one of the hair pieces can be made to fit any size from newborn to adult. Something cute for you, and for your little one.

In addition to loving art, I truly love to do whatever I can to help or encourage. It literally makes my heart happy. GiveLove365.com is something God placed in my husband and I and it’s all about encouraging anyone to be a blessing to people. Every Friday there is a new Spark posted, which is just a little challenge that will inspire you and everyone you know to go out and just do something nice for someone. It’s kind of like pay it forward, but on a totally new level. I pray daily that it will become a movement that will just completely saturate the world with love, where people will look for opportunities to uplift others. The more we all share and show love, the more of impact we all can really make. Lets BE love.
-Ashley

Isn't she wonderful?! Ashley is so generously giving one lucky reader a $15 credit to her etsy shop! You could get something like this...


or this...


or this...



To Enter:
Please be a public follower of my blog via Google Friend Connect (one entry)

Extra Entries (comment for each):
(1) Follow Ashley's blog (one entry)
(2) Follow Ashley on twitter (one entry)
(3) Follow me on twitter (one entry)
(4) Tweet about the giveaway
(5) Facebook the giveaway    
That's 6 chances to win! Winner will be announced next Wednesday, September 28!

Oh, and the winner of the Little Blue Feather giveaway is Jennifer. Check your email!

love.
Natalie

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday Reflections: Embrace, Right Here

"A number of years ago, I ordered a dishwasher on sale just before leaving for the Holy Land because the sale would be over before my wife and I returned. But when we arrived home, the dishwasher was not waiting as expected. I stopped in often to check on it, and finally it was located in another town.

During my many visits to check on the dishwasher, I was concerned that Ron, the store owner, appeared dejected. As I paid my bill, I shook his hand and said, 'Ron, if I can ever be of help, let me know.'

Immediately, Ron shot back, 'Let's set the time and place,' and we met a few evenings later in my church office.

'How can I help you, Ron?' I inquired.

'I'm a (he named his church), divorced and an alcoholic,' he explained.

I shared the gospel of Christ with Ron, how He died on the cross to forgive our sins, and rose again to give new life to all who repent and place their faith in Him. That night, Ron and I knelt in my study, and he prayed to receive Christ as his Savior. I suggested he come to church the next Sunday and make a public declaration of his new faith in Christ, and he did.

During the next couple of years, as he grew in faith, he also experienced health problems that brought him close to death on several occasions. But he won the battle over alcohol, regained much of his health and in time, as he continued to grow in the Lord, became the commander of the AWANA clubs at church. Besides his new ministry, God also gave him a new wife, a good marriage that endured until his body wore out 23 years later.

I have often wondered: What if the dishwasher had not been missent? What if I'd become angry over the delay? What if I'd canceled the order? What if I hadn't offered to help him or if Ron had rejected my offer?

God, in His love and mercy, used these unusual circumstances involving a dishwasher and worked out all the details to bring another lost soul to His saving grace. I'm grateful the 'what if's' did not happen.

May our hearts be always ready and sensitive to the Lord as He leads our lives every day. Scriptures tell us, 'For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost' (Luke 19:10), and 'Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new' (2 Corinthians 5:17)."  -Paul J. Twist

Source: fromportlandtopeonies.blogspot.com via Natalie on Pinterest.

I've been shy my entire life, and I know I tend to use that as an excuse to avoid people, to go along my merry way, minding my own business. Yet, I know that God calls us to be "salt and light" to the world. How can I do that if I'm living in my own little box, oblivioius to other people's problems?

I want to get to know people. Sometimes, I'm scared to let them in, to be real, to connect.

I want to do random acts of kindness, like this (go, read- be inspired).

I want to embrace the life God has placed before me, to reach out and give hope to the people around me. You don't have to go half-way around the world to be a missionary. There are hurting people, craving love and attention, all around us. What about the cashier at the grocery store, the man walking down the street, the little girl sitting a few pews over at church?

I realize how little I know about many people. Really know. Sure, we may know facts. Or gossip.

Life may be easier when we aren't "bogged down" with other people, but I know it's also much less fulfilling.


love.
Natalie

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Favorite Shop: Allora Handmade

Hi friends! I'm linking up with Gussy for the Inspiration Workshop today! The prompt was: Favorite Shop. I like to shop. And I LOVE this shop...

Source

I'm always up for buying handmade instead of mass-produced in China. Jessica seriously creates the most beautiful items! I feel like I could stare at them all day! :)

Source

Source

I really want this shirt!

Source

I only own one of her pieces (thanks, Mom!), but I seriously love it! Sometimes I want to wear it and have to build my whole outfit around it (guess I could use some more colors, right?) :)


Jess just introduced a new fall color line of her rolled rosettes along with some new products about a month ago, so there is MUCH to look at! Visit her shop here and her blog here!


Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

love.
Natalie

P.S. Enter my Little Blue Feather giveaway here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Little Blue Feather Feature & Giveaway

Hi friends! I have a fabulous sponsor to introduce you to today! I "met" Michelle a couple months ago through Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop, and we have been friends ever since! Her items are super-adorbs (like her!), and since we don't live that far away from each other, I think we will have to meet in person someday!


Hi there! My name is Michelle and I am the one behind Little Blue Feather, an online shop that specializes in appliqued baby onesies, toddler shirts, hair accessories and home decor items! I love creating unique appliques by mixing colorful printed cotton fabrics and buttons for added interest and texture. Every piece of my applique is hand drawn, hand cut and machine sewn to the garment. Along with appliqued shirts, I also like spending time drawing new images for upcoming screen printed shirts and sewing pillows and fabric banners for the home! The name Little Blue Feather came about because all of my items are wrapped in ribbon, a card and little blue feather before shipping!

For a look into what my everyday life, favorite things, photography and positive posts, check out my blog! 

Photobucket
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SO CUTE, RIGHT?!?!?! I can hardly stand the cuteness.

Michelle is generously giving you all the opportunity to win one letter onesie from her etsy shop!

To Enter:
Please be a public follower of my blog via Google Friend Connect (one entry)

Extra Entries (comment for each):
(1) Follow Michelle's blog (one entry)
(2) "Like" Little Blue Feather on facebook (one entry)
(3) Follow Michelle (@LilBlueFeather) AND myself (@NSPottery) on twitter (one entry)

Winner will be announced next Wednesday, September 21!

love.
Natalie

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday Reflections: Serve

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  -Mark 11:43-45

How can you serve someone today?

I know, we're busy. Sometimes it's all we can do to get through the day. I get that.

But life isn't all about us. (Shocking, isn't it?) Look for little ways that you can bless others today. I know when we bless, we are blessed even more in return.

Source

love.
Natalie

Friday, September 9, 2011

Seasons

We go through different seasons of our lives, much like the changing seasons of nature. Lately, I've felt like I'm in a season of bounty, fullness, and love.


I made some new friends this week- here, through this little blog of mine. How seriously awesome is this bloggy world? I never knew so much love and encouragement existed in a place like this. You all are a gift from God.



I've seen seasons of drought, sorrow, and hardship, and I'm sure I will see them again. But today, it's easy to be thankful.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil- this is the gift of God.  -Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

linking up here:



Aisle to Aloha
love.
Natalie

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pesto

Source: acouplecooks.com via Natalie on Pinterest

I LOVE fresh pesto. I think it might be one of my absolute favorite things about summer! Summer IS coming to an end, and it's definitely feeling like fall in my neck of the woods, but there is still plenty of fresh basil available. Get it while it lasts! Here's my recipe:


-1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
-1 clove garlic
-1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
-3-6 Tbs. parmesan cheese (optional- I'm allergic)
-1/2 tsp. salt
-2 sprigs parsley

Put in food processor and finely chop.

Slowly add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil while the food processor is running. Mix until well blended.


Done!


I love it served over pasta or spread on sandwiches. One recipe is enough for about 4 cups of pasta (uncooked). You can also freeze it in ice cube trays for enjoying in the winter.


Try it. Fall in love.

love.
Natalie

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shabby Apple

I'm sure many of you have heard of Shabby Apple, but for those of you who haven't, they are an online women's dress boutique that specializes in making women look fabulous while also dressing modestly. They also carry super-adorbs dresses for little girls.

Here are some of my favorites...


I'll take one of each please!
Did I mention they also have accessories? They have accessories. Gorgeous ones. I love this necklace...

You can shop the entire Shabby Apple collection here.

AND... there's a winner to announce! The winner of the Project Love giveaway is...


Congrats, Mallorie!!! I'll connect you with Hillary.


love.
Natalie




Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Green Zebras

Ever have a green zebra? They are tangy, sweet, and delicious.


We have so many tomatoes right now, they are completely taking over the kitchen. This basketful was picked in one day.


Life is good.

What's your favorite tomato recipe? We need new ways to eat them. Please share any and every recipe that has tomatoes in it below. :)

love.
Natalie

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sunday Reflections: Redemption

Happy Labor Day friends! It's the last hurrah of summer (even though summer doesn't end for another 2 1/2 weeks!), and I plan on doing... what else... labor. :) I have a kiln full of bisque fired pots waiting to be glazed! No worries, though. Family time outside around a fire is in order this evening, and I'm excited!


Here's a thought for your day...

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [Jesus!] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. 
-Hebrews 10:11-14, 18

Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for my sins and your sins, forever and always. ♥ I'm so thankful that we don't have to sacrifice animals. I tend to be squeamish.

love.
Natalie

P.S. Fabulous giveaways going on here (if you're in need of a little pottery in your life) AND here (for some super-awesome clothing!) You're welcome.