Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Long Lost Cousin!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how we finally got to meet one of our cousins! Our family history can get a little confusing, but the gist of it is this: Daddy has a brother who lives in Africa and Daddy has never met him. My uncle had two sons that we had never met, but we only knew about one of them. Daddy tried to find the older brother but he wasn't able to find him. After praying about it, Steve found us! Then, Steve found out he had a brother and Justin came out to visit with us! Are you confused yet?

When Justin came to visit, I didn't take any pictures because I am an idiot. Kate took some pictures though and she let me use them.

It's so surreal to meet someone that you share DNA with, that you notice little family traits in, but you've never met them before.

Obviously he and Daddy share the same sense of humor...

Look how alike Justin and Daddy look!

Silly boys.

Welcome to the family, Justin. We've been waiting a long time for you.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Favorite Things!

Last week, I took 10 minutes to jot down some of my favorite things. I'd recommend y'all do the same. This list is by no means exhaustive because looking back I left off some of my favorite things like quilts, stained glass, bottles, etc.  Here is my list:

  • cantaloupe
  • sunflower seeds
  • sunshine
  • fires in the fireplace
  • camping with family 
  • road trips
  • houseplants
  • bright colors
  • natural light 
  • goldfish 
  • Jared's laugh
  • Daddy's cheek dimple
  • open windows
  • driving fast
  • singing harmony
  • flowers in bloom
  • Mama's smile
  • Katie's twinkly eyes
  • being on stage
  • projects
  • Puck's face
  • sweet tea
  • wood-wicked candles
  • being near the water
  • cast iron skillets
  • art made by friends
  • Dolly Parton's bluegrass albums
  • twinkle lights
  • garden paths
  • wind chimes
  • a baby's laugh
  • Jared's hand on my hip at night
  • honeysuckles
  • wild and un-tameable places
  • Wyoming
  • Ophelia's tail
  • impromptu visits from friends
  • entertaining
  • crafty costume parties
  • Christmastime
  • decorating
  • mason jars
  • funky planters
  • gallery walls
  • quiet time with Jesus
  • our church family
  • giving things to people
  • blogging
What are some of y'all's favorite things?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Photo Friday 7.26.2013

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

First off the most important thing to happen this week is this:

To make a long and confusing story as short as possible, my Daddy has a brother in Africa. He had two sons that didn't know about each other. Those sons grew up not knowing anything about their father's family. We only knew about one of the sons, but Daddy could never find him.  A few years ago, one of the brothers found us! A year or so later, the oldest brother found out about his younger brother, and we finally got to meet him this week! Justin came out to visit us on the way to South Carolina to see his wife graduate from Basic Training. Praise Jesus! Talk about a Pocket of Joy! I'm hoping to do a big post about this soon, but for now, enjoy that photo of Katie, Justin, and Daddy. I completely blanked on taking photos! Justin is definitely a Weeks. He's got those Weeks eyes!

Other than that, this week has been a great week for bouquet-making!

I'm working on a bouquet made from these funky beads for a wedding in October.

It's still a work in progress, but it reminds me of a firework explosion.

These cabinet knobs will be a crazy bouquet soon as well!

These butterflies are part of butterfly bouquet that a bride's sister is going to surprise her with! The colors are going to be white and pink, but I had a very hard time finding any pink butterflies that would work!

 So I hand-painted them.

I'll post completed pictures once it is delivered!

This week was also full of Puck-snuggles with her granddaddy.

This cat was really weird this week.

And I'm sure y'all aren't surprised that the dog was weird too. She arranged herself this way.

I hope y'all are having a great week, and I hope this weekend is fantastic!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Real Confidence Booster: Keeping a "Praise File"

Sometimes being a creative person can be difficult. Some days, you think you're a genius and other days, you're convinced everything you make/do is the worst thing on the planet. The pendulum is always swinging back and forth, and it's hard to remember at times why you do what you do. To help remind me, I've started what Austin Kleon in his book Steal Like An Artist calls a praise file. It's basically a collection of nice things people think about your work. For him, it's an email folder full of positive emails. For me, it's a collection of screenshots from my phone, capturing positive comments people left for me on my photos. 

Why keep a praise file? It is so easy to dwell on the negative. In fact, if you ask most people about their day, their automatic response is to tell you about the worst part of their day. It's like we are hard-wired to see the negative, and that really sucks. When someone reacts negatively to something you've worked really hard on, it's easy to wallow in that negativity until it becomes this giant black hole for productivity. Kleon tells his readers to forget about keeping a rejection file and delete any non-constructive negative comments immediately.  I love that. Who cares if someone thinks our bathtub pond is white trash and weird? Not me! For every one person that goes out of their way to tell someone something sucks, there are four or five saying it's awesome. It's time to start listening to the people who are uplifting and encouraging and ignoring the people who have nothing better to do than tear your spirit down. 

Start thinking about what your praise file might look like.  Maybe it's an email folder, maybe it's screenshots of your favorite comments. You could start a little scrapbook of positive comments. Once Parrie told me after a hard day of caring for her, "Tristan, you are necessary." When I got home, I wrote it down on a piece of paper with the date on it, and carried it in my wallet for weeks as a reminder. However your choose to record these moments of positivity, keep it easily accessible. Whenever you're having a bad day, read a couple of those emails and then get back to work! 

Your praise file doesn't have to be about your creative endeavors. It can be nice things people have said about your parenting skills, or your ability to coupon like a mad person, or how you're super athletic and fit and can run a million miles an hour. Whatever your gifts and talents might be, remember the positive things people say about it. 

Some might say this idea is arrogant and to them I would respectfully say, "Suck it." It's not arrogant to have confidence in yourself and your accomplishments. Even David in the Bible encouraged himself.  What is arrogant is to assume that your gifts and talents are all you and none of Him. 

Here are some of my favorite happy thoughts. 

I'm so thankful for the friends and strangers who take the time to encourage me. It has become my goal recently to be as much of an encouragement as I can be to others, and I hope you'll do the same. Take some time today and tell someone something you like about them or about what they are doing, and then start collecting for your own praise file. It's surprising how uplifting just looking over a few of the items in your file can be!

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." 

(If you'd like more information about Austin Kleon and how amazing he is as an artist, check out his official website, his tumblr, his twitter, and his instagram where he posts blackout poems and super cute pictures of his son!)

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Official: We Have Fish!!

We finally have fish!

We rescued 12 little goldfish from the fish department of Wal-Mart. I use the word "rescue" because the Wal-Mart's fish department is pretty awful. Sadly, two little fish died (I think they were on the way out when we brought them home), but the others are thriving! They seem to really love all the room!

They really like hanging out in the roots of these plants in this half of the pond.

They also really like jumping through these bubbles! We have adventurous fish on our hands!

I'm hoping to add a couple of tadpoles soon, so we can watch them grow into frogs! I love this tiny little ecosystem we've created!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Photo Friday 7.20.2013: Saturday Edition!

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

Holy hibiscus! My aunt gave me some seeds off of this one, so I hope mine grows this big next year!

I finally decided to tackle the wild area around our mailbox. Here's the before!

And after! It still needs some work, but it looks much better!

Our water lily bloomed!

I love our pond so much!

I started sketching this photo to's been kind of tough!

Jared and I went on a walk on trash day in our neighborhood and found this great chair!

I hope y'all are having a great weekend!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Inspiration Files: Staircase!

We are currently in the throes of a staircase remodel. I can't tell you the number of times I've come home and Jared had some/part/all of the stair treads torn out leaving me unable to get upstairs to our bathrooms. It's so much fun to plan these kinds of remodels though. So far, we've torn out the carpet (HALLELUJAH!) and Jared has cut and I stained the new treads. We are wide open for ideas for the rest though! Here's some of my inspiration photos!

I love this idea. Love love love it! Plus, the pup is cute too!


I love funky risers!


We've already cut the treads, but this is just so awesome, I can't stand it. 


I cannot tell you how much I love this. If I had that much painting talent, I would attempt something similar, but sadly, I'm not. What a great reminder though!


This photo brings me to my next design quandary. What should we do with our little handrail?! It's so rickety and ugly. I'd love to do something unusual and unexpected. 

Add caption

Here's another handrail idea I thought was cool!


I told Jared that if we lived near a lake, this would be our handrail. So stinkin' cute. 


I can't wait to see everything all finished up and beautiful!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Photo Friday 7.12.2013

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

I'm working on this awesome funky bouquet! I can't wait to finish it up!

I came downstairs this week, and Jared had disappeared into the chair...I laughed until I cried.

A sweet lady at church gave me this super cute stool. Her mother found it under a house in 1970. She had it re-caned 43 years ago! Who knows how old the actual stool is?!

Jared's parents have a kitty cat named Peaches. She's a bit grumpy most of the time, but she's occasionally sweet. Just don't try to pet her.

I enjoyed a late breakfast by the pond this morning.

I got this monster crinum in the ground today. My friend Michael gave it to me, and he snapped his shovel in half trying to get it out of the ground!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Be a Light, Y'all.

Hi, y'all! Do you ever feel like you've got something to say, but you don't know why? That's what this post is. Bear with me :)

Photo by Katie Weeks Photography
I feel very blessed to be known as a person who has a positive attitude. I don't say that in any way to brag on myself; I've been told that is how people view me. And I love that. I know it's not always true, but I strive for that attitude. I stumble and fail, but I always want to be an encourager. I want to be like my Mama. I want to speak life into every situation I come into; I want to be light.  To quote Rumi: I want to "be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder." I want to uplift always. I pray that God's light always shines from my eyes, my lips, my heart.

So why are people so negative? I think people are negative because they are afraid and fear is easier to accept. We fear what we don't know. Or we fear what we DO know and that's worse. It is so easy to give into fear and use examples of other people's failings to squash any hope in other people. "Be Realistic" is one of the most soul-deadening phrases I can think of. Of course it is important to think about food, shelter, money, and things of that nature; I am not advocating irresponsible living. I'm suggesting being open to your calling. Be aware that there is more to life than 9-5. Realize that you are here for a holy purpose and those thousands of dollars of debt are holding you back from ever fulfilling your calling. Trust that if God has laid something on your heart, he will make a way for it to happen. Be willing to move when He says it is time.

The bible talks about how the power of life and death is in the tongue. Our words have a powerful effect on those around us. We can wound their spirit, and that is dangerous. We have the power to uplift and encourage those around us with our actions, our words, our attitude, our money (yes. even our money) and with our time. If you have a kind word for someone, say it. If you have a gift you'd like to give someone, give it. If you have food to share, share it. If you have room in your heart for others, show it. Give. Give. Give.

Be a servant to others. Parrie's last days taught me that. At the end, I was at her house every morning, fixing her tea, making sure she had breakfast. That last week was one of the most trying times of my life so far. On her last day here, I went over to start her breakfast and do what I could before I had to leave to play a bluegrass festival. I was rushing here and there trying to cram in as much stuff on the list as I could. She asked me if I would help her bathe. As I sat at the foot of her bed, gently washing her feet, I realized what a gift I was given in her. She invested her time in me, and I, in turn, invested my time in her. Invest your time in people instead of things.

I pray that the Lord constantly pushes me and Jared to remember His will and His plan for our life together. I want our home to be a reflection of the blessings he's given us. I want our testimony to be on of endless grace and generosity. Sometimes I look over my life and see the amazing, beautiful, wonderful, fantastic blessings I've been given and I could cry with happiness. I've lived lifetimes in my 26 years. I've been blessed with so much more than I deserve, and I hope I can be a blessing to others as well.

I hope that if you stumbled on this post, you will follow what God has for you out there. I hope you become a light in your home and community. Thank y'all for reading the ramblings from my heart. I love y'all. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fourth of July Porch Party (with Chicken Chili with Corn and Black Bean Recipe!)

I don't know about y'all, but here in Georgia, rain postponed everyone's plans for the Fourth. We didn't really celebrate until Saturday, and even then it rained. Jared and I along with my parents were invited to a BBQ Hank and Kathy's house. Hank and Kathy are some of Mama and Daddy's best friends and it's always a good time when they all get together because Hank and Kathy are two of the funniest people I know. I didn't want us to show up empty-handed, so I decided to make some more of the chili I mentioned in last week's Photo Friday. I found the original here, but I tweaked it to suit our tastes. The recipe is after the porch party pictures!

The porch party was a ton of fun! Hank is a killer BBQ cook (and cook in general.), so anytime you go over there, you know you're going to eat great! He was the man who did all the BBQ for our wedding. He smoked 20 pork butts that weekend!

I love their place!

Tellin' tales.

Mean muggin'.

"Really? More pictures?"

Miss Toontsie!

This beautiful girl is Katie. They named their dog after my sister, which is hysterical to me.

She looks like she's fat, but she's all muscle! What a beautiful babe!

Kathy picked these flowers from her flower garden.

Hank is so proud of this 'fast and loud lawnmower of Cobb county'-complete with optional cold beverage center-that he had to show us.

So very pretty.

Here's the recipe for the chili!


  • 1 tablespoon of whatever oil you like to use. I used canola because that's what we had.
  • 3 large chicken breasts cut into small cubes
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic (I really love garlic.)
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder (see. I told you.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • dash of chili powder
  • 1 can of black beans, drained 
  • 1 can of great northern beans, drained
  • 1 can of rotel, drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • Optional: cheese and tortilla chips

Heat oil in your skillet on medium high heat. Add onion, minced garlic, and chicken.

Cook until chicken is cooked through. Put all of your remaining ingredients in a pot. Relish in the pretty colors!

Scoop your chicken, onions, and garlic out of the skillet and into the pot. Add the spices to the pot.

Mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Jared brought home 4 pounds of Parmesan cheese from work, so we added some of that to the chili and it was actually really good. We scooped the chili up into tortilla chips and it was delicious!