Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Four Year Blog Anniversary

Happy Fourth Blog Anniversary!

Hard to believe but today is the 4th anniversary of my blogging adventure. Yes, four years ago today, on July 31st, 2015 Debbiethisandthat was born and then morphed three years later into Debbie Styles Life! 

To mark this occasion I thought I would share a few favorite pics from this past year of blogging and then add a few thoughts in general about where I am with blogging at this time.

This recent pic styling a black jumpsuit is one of my favorites. I hit the angles just right and this picture makes me look much better IMO than I look in real life! Sometimes the camera is friendly and sometimes it isn't! On this day, it was friendly, LOL!

I had the opportunity this past year to join an international blogger's group, Match Made In Seven, and that has been both challenging and lots of fun! One member per month gets to choose a theme and then each of us interprets the theme in our own way. I had so much fun with the first theme which was "Punk!" If you missed our last theme of "California Dreamin'" be sure to click on the link to catch up!

I've really enjoyed crafting in so many different ways this past year and have found joy in sharing my  creations on the blog. From signs, to sewing to card making, I have had so much fun exploring my own creativity. I'm certainly not perfect in my creations, but I do put a lot of heart into what I create by hand!

Creating decorative tablescapes is something I continue to enjoy and it was great fun to finally fashion an outdoor tea tablescape this past Spring! I loved using my Pioneer Woman tablecloth and my new teapot for this tablescape. 

I've shared pics I've taken in the great outdoors more this past year and have worked on honing my camera skills. These pics of a bluebird at Beaver Lake and my backyard Lantana plant are two of my favorite nature pics from this year!

I'm always on the lookout for good reads and enjoy sharing great book titles I have found with my readers. The Maisie Dobbs series is definitely one of my most favorite book series of the past year!

I continue to enjoy sharing my faith story through writing devotionals. Click on the link for my latest devotional

And, throughout this fourth year of blogging, I have given a few more unique looks into my personal life with friends and family. There have been so many fun adventures including the addition of a new furry family member!

This is the very first picture I posted on the blog four years ago today; a selfie taken in Colorado. I had absolutely no idea how to "do" blogging but I was determined to try! From the beginning, I have endeavored to bring my readers "a little bit of this and that" and I feel I have stayed true to that theme. It may be hard to put my blog into one particular "niche" and that fact may hurt me in terms of building pageviews. I'm not just a fashion blog or a blog about books, or a blog that only focuses on home decor or a blog that just focuses on growing in faith or a blog that just focuses on crafts. I'm a little bit of all of that! In my humble opinion, my blog is a true lifestyle blog because everything I share is truly about how I style life. I think my blog is the complete package....what do you think? If you like the variety of posts that can be found on I hope you will tell others so they can enjoy reading what my blog has to offer! I strive to "be real" and to be able to identify with my readers. My pictures aren't going to be "magazine perfect" all the time but I do the very best I can and will continue to strive to learn and grow as a writer and photographer. 

I sometimes wonder what the future of the blog is. I'll admit that there are some weeks that the creative juices just aren't flowing. It's hard to constantly come up with topics to write about. I continue to feel foolish at times doing fashion shoots. I'm no model and I wonder if I just look silly trying to pose and if it comes off as trying to "show off" with too much focus on pictures of myself. I really don't feel qualified to tell others about how to dress. But, my greatest number of pageviews continue to come from the fashion posts. I find that quite interesting. My take with fashion is that women need to be true to themselves and what they like and feel good wearing. I really think that each of us has our own fashion sense and when I have tried to be too much like "other bloggers" I haven't felt like I looked good. And, while I understand the thinking behind not allowing age to dictate what we wear, there are certainly styles I don't think look appropriate on my 60 year old body! 

Likewise, it's hard to feel inspiration each week to write devotionals. And I'm often reading a series of books or re-reading books I've already shared, so there is the challenge of coming up with new books to share. In other words, blogging is hard! You may have noticed that I've posted a little less than usual in recent weeks and these are some of the reasons why. I'm being a little more relaxed in terms of coming up with new posts. But, I'm not giving up on blogging so no worries there. I think I would feel quite lost without my blog. 

I do enjoy so much hearing from my readers and I want to say a big "thank you" to those folks who take time out from their busy days to read my blog. And, if you leave a comment I give you double thanks!! I know it's hard to always comment. I also read blogs and don't always leave a comment, but, oh how fun it is to hear what you think of my posts and to know that someone is touched by or helped in some way or enjoyed something that I write about! So, thank you, dear readers for being there because it would be a lonely blogging experience without you!!

So, today, on this my fourth anniversary of blogging, I'm celebrating all that I have learned in the last four years of being a blogger. I'm celebrating each of you, my dear readers who continue to inspire me to keep on keeping on. I'm not the biggest blog on the block by a long shot, but by the grace of God, I am what I am and my blog is what it is and will continue to be so. I would love it if you would let me know what you especially like to read about and would like more of on the blog. I appreciate your input and will continue to bring you more of what I do best on the blog...a little bit of this and that!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Match Made In Seven: California Dreamin'

California Dreamin' With Match Made In Seven

Hey friends!  It's time for another Match Made In Seven style challenge and this month's theme has been the biggest challenge so far for me! If you are new to the blog, here is what our group is all about.

We are an international group of fashion bloggers who meet once a month. One of us chooses a theme in turn, and that can be anything. A book, music, a color, a movie. And then we style an outfit based on that theme. The theme of this month is chosen by Darlene and is: California Dreamin' ! Also, take a look at the other bloggers and how they have interpreted the theme this month. (See list at end of post).

You wouldn't think that this month's theme would be such a challenge, but it was for me. I have only been to California one time, many many years ago. I certainly know the famous lyrics to the song written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips of the group The Mama's and The Papa's in the 1960's. But, I just wasn't quite certain where to go with this theme. Whenever I think of California I tend to picture movie stars, warm weather and, unfortunately here lately, earthquakes! So, I delved back into the memories of our trip there 20 some years ago and I remember staying in Cambria and the beautiful Pacific Ocean and the brilliant sunshine. So, I decided to go with clothing that reminded me of the sun.

This yellow tunic type top reminds me of sunshine! It is loose and flowy and oh so comfortable for the hottest days of summer. Paired with white pants and sandals I can pretend that I am in California soaking up the sun!

If you have forgotten the lyrics to the song, here is a reminder:

California Dreamin

All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown)
And the sky is grey (and the sky is grey)
I've been for a walk (I've been for a walk)
On a winter's day (on a winter's day)
I'd be safe and warm (I'd be safe and warm)
If I was in L.A. (if I was in L.A.)
California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day
Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees (got down on my knees)
And I pretend to pray (I pretend to pray)
You know the preacher like the cold (preacher like the cold)
He knows I'm gonna stay (knows I'm gonna stay)
California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day
All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown)
And the sky is grey (and the sky is grey)
I've been for a walk (I've been for a walk)
On a winter's day (on a winter's day)
If I didn't tell her (if I didn't tell her)
I could leave today (I could leave today)
California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Michelle Gilliam / John Edmund Andrew Phillips
California Dreamin lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music

Monday, July 22, 2019

Simple Crafts and DIY Decor

Easy DIY Crafts 

Hey Everyone!  Hope your week is off to a great start!  I had a pretty crafty weekend and Monday and I thought I would share some of the crafts I created. You know I like crafts that are easy and can be finished within a fairly short period of time. The crafts you see today fit that criteria!

I spent today sewing a cute tote bag made out of cat and paw print fabric that I bought awhile ago. The material was a fat square and I was able to make two tote bags out of one fat square. Don't look too closely now-remember I am new to sewing!! I created my own handles for this bag using the paw print fabric, but for the second one I am going to use pre-made handle material. 

I also decorated this cardboard "R" using decorative scrapbook paper. 

One large sheet of paper covered the whole "R".  Tracing around the front and the straight sides was easy. For the rounded part I traced as far as I could on the straight top and then rolled the "R" forward estimating the length needed to wrap around the front. It worked out!

For right now, I am displaying the "R" on the foyer table. It does have a tab for hanging, so I may do that when I change out the foyer table next. These cardboard letters are pretty inexpensive at A.C. Moore so you may want to find your initial(s) and give it a try! 

The rest of my craft time was spent creating more cards using various materials including some new stencils. 

I decided to add my name to the backs. I created quite a few cards Saturday evening. Once I get started it's hard to stop!

I'm especially proud of the button card!  But, I think all of the cards turned out pretty well. Like I mentioned, I used a variety of materials to make the cards including stickers, stencils, watercolor pencils, permanent marker and clear glue. All you need are some blank note cards and you can create your own!

Have you been getting crafty lately? Hope you will leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers!!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Scripture, White Shirt and Weekly Happenings

Giving Thanks

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
I Chronicles 16:34

Another incredibly busy week has gone by and in true "this and that" form, I have a little of everything in this post for you! There will be a devotional, a style post and catching up on weekly happenings all rolled up into one post. Hope you enjoy!!

On Monday, I enjoyed a lovely lunch out with two friends and it was wonderful to visit and catch up. One of the friends has recently come through a time of loss and illness and I am so thankful that she is doing much better now. Friends are a true blessing in this life and something for which I thank God for. 

I also felt the gift of friendship on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week as the Mr. and I spent the greater part of those days working at our church. For awhile now, I have been hoping that our bell choir room at church could be moved from downstairs in the basement area, to a room upstairs which is right off of the sanctuary. My reasons for wanting this room are many. Each time our bell choir rings we have to carry heavy equipment like bells, tables and music stands all the way upstairs. In addition, music folders, cushions for the tables and containers with table covers must be brought into the sanctuary. It's a huge deal each time we ring to get all the moving done and none of us are getting any younger or getting younger backs!!  Anyway, I recently received permission to make this move, but it involved moving the church library out of the room and to another room and then moving all of the bell equipment upstairs to the former library. It was a BIG job involving moving books, shelving, furniture and the other miscellaneous things that accumulated in the library. The Mr. and I were so blessed to have several folks come to assist us with this move. They came not just one day, but the next day as well and stayed with us until everything in ALL the rooms was in place. They were a true blessing and I am very thankful for their help and for the Lord's guidance in leading us to be able to make this move. 

Truly, as I reflect on all of these happenings for the week, I have much to be thankful for to the Lord. He is definitely good and his love endures forever!!  As you reflect on your week, what are you thankful for? 

Catching Up:

The other big news that has been happening around here is that the Mr. has been working long and hard on our dining room! This is the last room in the house to be renovated and I am excited to finally be at this point. We have lived in our present house for 16 years and my husband has basically rebuilt this house from the inside out over those years. Living in a house that has had some type of construction going on for that long has been a challenge. But, this house had a lot of "needs" when we bought it and we knew that it would be a long haul getting it done. There has been a lot of living going on for those 16 years for both of us and in between teaching every day, working on Master's Degrees and National Board Certifications, the Mr. playing in two bands plus teaching a night class and then various health issues that cropped up the house construction fit in where it could. So, it's not surprising that it has taken 16 years to get to this point! My house looks a bit like a tornado went through it right now, but we are moving along and that's what counts, right?! But sorry, no pictures to show you yet. I look sometimes at the photos of "perfection" on blogs and instagram of people's homes and I truly think, "You have got to be kidding!" Because, like I said, right now we are doing construction, cleaning out accumulated stuff and the Mr. is trying to find places for what he brought home after retirement. As I looks like a tornado went through! But, I have faith that it will improve as these projects get done. 

Styling in White:

Have you noticed that wearing white is "in" this summer? I keep seeing adds for little white dresses and jumpsuits as well as tops and slacks. White is such a staple color and is so versatile because it goes with anything. I read online recently that white looks good on all skin tones which is very nice. I purchased this white top at Hamrick's several months ago and I've been wearing it a lot. It is a great length and is easy to wear as it is comfortable and can be dressed up or down depending on what I wear with it. 

I also like the wavy lines all over the top. They add texture and interest and move the eye away from any bumps or bulges. It's interesting that I chose this top kind of in a hurry when I was shopping at Hamrick's that day. I saw it and thought it looked interesting and went with it. And, it has become a frequently worn favorite. Sometimes, I wear pieces more that I buy quickly than the ones that I try on and think and think about! Funny, isn't it? This top is actually more of an "off-white" eggshell color. It's interesting to try the many shades of white clothing available to see which shade looks best for you. According to what I've read my skin is more of a cool tone than a warm tone and I should wear whites that have blue tones in them. This top actually has more of a warm yellow tone to it and yet I think I wear it well, so I'm not going to worry about cool and warm tones of white too much!! I think with fashion you go with what you like and what you feel good wearing. How about you? Hope you'll leave a comment about any part of today's post!

Take Care and Many Blessings!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Backyard Philosophy

Musings From My Backyard

I've been taking walks outdoors sauntering around my woods and waxing philosophical with my musings. I thought I would share. We'll begin with this surprisingly good pic of the Lantana on my back porch. I surprised myself with getting the bokeh on this shot! Just goes to show that if you keep trying, you can eventually get it right!

I spied these toadstools out my door today and grabbed my camera to snap some photos. I have a "thing" for toadstools that dates back to when my Mom and I would watch the Smurfs on Saturday mornings. Just look at the detail on the stem of the toadstool on the left! How beautiful the stem is with the creamy white of the cap with brown in the center! I like looking for beauty in small things. Think of the small creatures who may take respite from the sun under the shade of these toadstools. 

This is the fern that ate Manhattan growing on my front porch! There are equally large ones on the other side of the front porch and on the back porch. These ferns have gone to town over the summer and are HUGE. This pic doesn't do it justice! Note to self to allow for more space between planters next summer so the Coleus in the side pots don't  get overwhelmed by the fern. Sometimes a little space is a good thing. 

We have had several trees fall in our woods during stormy and windy days. This one fell into the crook of another tree and got wedged saving the underbrush from getting crushed. It's a good thing to be able to give support when needed. 

This pile of large rocks may not look like much but my husband has been steadily finding them on our property and moving them to the front of the house where he will eventually be turning them into stone steps up to the house. It is hard work to move such heavy objects but he is determined! What looks chaotic can actually contain order

Thankfully, this little Leyland Cyprus tree seems to be recovering nicely after the baby bear cubs used it to climb on during their playtime. It pays to be able to bend without breaking. 

I was lucky enough to be able to catch the raindrops on this leaf. Into every life a little rain must fall. 

These ferns were not planted but just popped up on their own next to these huge boulders in our front yard. Not a very hospitable environment for plants but these ferns appear to be thriving! It's possible to bloom and grow even in poor circumstances. 

This spider web covers a large territory along the ground ivy and it sprinkled with raindrops. The delicate web strands are unharmed by the heavy droplets and the wind that accompanies the rain. Delicacy does not diminish strength. 

Our mountain stream now runs smoothly and gently never hinting at the raging waters which washed out portions of our driveway during a deluge a few weeks ago. The strength of water should never be underestimated. 

This gray fox paused for a moment during a foray through our backyard. I snapped this photo from inside the house. The fox looked my way warily, unsure of my intentions and listening carefully for every sound. It pays to be on alert in uncertain circumstances. 

And it's ok to leave if it doesn't feel right. 

My marigolds didn't like the front yard and were thin and spindly until I moved them to the backyard next to the porch. Now they are thriving and multiplying! It can take awhile to find your best place to thrive. 

I am blessed to live in such a place of beauty where, like the needles of the pine tree, there is the evergreen of nature throughout each season. The beauty of nature, unlike fashion, never goes out of style and never worries about trends. Each plant, creature and aspect of nature has its own style and is beautiful in its own right. May each of us copy nature's styling in our own lives. 

Our backyards can teach us much if we take the time to look and listen.

Until Next Time,