Sunday, September 23, 2012

Extra Kitchen Storage

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”  -- Confucius

I've been on a tear to de-clutter our home. We have a garage that has been converted into...extra space. It's not a completely finished room, so we use it for storage. We moved into our house in October of 2005 and since that time, the converted garage has become our cluttered little secret.  Well, I guess the cat is out of the bag now. 

Anyway, the garage/conversion is my husband's pet project. In the meantime, I'm doing my annual spring cleaning in the fall. Now that we have a child, I'm on a mission to really de-clutter each room. There's something about all those toys and toy pieces that we've accumulated in just a year that has me a bit frazzled. When my house gets too much stuff, I get overwhelmed and feel almost smothered. I'm sure I get this trait from my mother. She's the kind of woman who wakes up at 6am every day to vacuum her house. 

She cleans EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

I'm a stay at home mom and I just can't clean every OTHER day, let alone every day. 


I mentioned this canned food cabinet tutorial at Classy Clutter to  my dear husband and he really liked the idea. We have a very tiny kitchen - some might say a "one butt" kitchen. We don't have a pantry and we have very few cupboards. This cabinet would fit perfectly in the empty space right next to our fridge and utilize all that vertical real estate. 

So, when my husband's parents came to visit, I suggested this little project for he and his step-father to do together. Bonding and de-cluttering - win/win, right?

Here's some pictures of the completed project:
My son, Baby J, and our cat, Eddie, inspect the merchandise.

Exterior view.

What would we do differently? Not much. My husband stayed pretty true to the tutorial. The only thing he would like to change is the casters. Right now, they are free rolling casters that seem to have a mind of their own. He'd like to try and find static casters to keep them rolling in one direction as it can be a little tough to wrangle the cabinet back into it's cubby hole.

This was another great Pinterest find. Big props to the ladies of Classy Clutter for this awesome idea and detailed tutorial. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Burlap Rag Wreath for Fall

"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."
- Helen Hunt Jackson

I love the end of summer in Texas. The weather is PERFECT this time of year. As unpredictable as our climate can be, it stays pretty comfortable until late November. Instead of oppressive heat, we have beautiful, balmy, weather and delicious breezes. 

To celebrate the first day of fall, I finally completed my wreath project! It took some time for me to gather my supplies. I couldn't find orange burlap anywhere! I finally ordered some online and it got here in a couple of days.  

I'd seen this one on Pinterest a couple of months ago and just fell in love with it. So, using it as my inspiration, I set to work looking for rag wreath tutorials that were easy to follow. I finally found one at Six Sisters Stuff that fit the bill. There's no need for me to do a write-up because they did a great job! 

I vaguely followed the instructions as I didn't really take time to measure my strips of burlap. I just eyeballed them and decided on a length that looked good to me. I also used their bow tutorial as a guideline for my own bow. Just like the wreath, I didn't follow it to the "tee" but I think mine turned out pretty well. 

The hardest part was tieing all that burlap! It's a rough material and my hands do ache a bit but it was worth it! I really love my new wreath and I'm proud that I can say I made it all by myself. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Picture Plaques

"Sometimes God takes us into troubled waters not to drown us but to cleanse us."

We all have trials, challenges, and difficulties in life. Mine are no different than others. Mine are no worse than others. Mine are simply mine. My family and I have experienced several challenges in the past three years and each of these tests have resulted in a testimony. As times goes on, I hope to become more comfortable with blogging my personal testimonies. In just three short years, we have faced various cancers, infertility, an adoption journey, the stillbirth of our adopted son's brother, and more.

What I am able to say today is that I do feel that these tests have molded me into the person I've always wanted to be. Someone who relies on God and not self understanding. Someone who is stronger than she realized. Someone who continues to care for others even though her own life seems to be falling apart around her. Someone who forgives the unforgivable. Someone who loves without conditions. Someone who continues to keep the faith even when the enemy is at my doorstep.

All that being said, crafting has continued to be a way for me to focus my energies and clear my mind. I'm enjoying the brief moments of solitude and silence (aka naptime) when I can get messy with paints, glues, and other assorted crafting mediums.

I recently completed some wall hangings for my son's room. His room is *mostly* done. The walls are pretty bare, so I do need to work on more wall decor. I recently decided on a color and theme change, too, so I need to: make a new dust ruffle for his crib; make a new window treatment for his window; recover the glider in his room; and recover the storage ottoman in his room.

Here's the corner of the room that I'm currently working on. The wall color is a soft green...although the more that times goes on it seems to look more khaki to me.

 Since the new color scheme for the room is basically primary/bright colors, I am doing my best to accent his room with pops of color that will complement the walls as well as his new bed set, Vitaminer Rand, from Ikea.

After spending far too much time on Pinterest, I went to my local Joann's to see what they had that might fit the bill. I found several raw wood plaques in various shapes for $2.99 each. I already had acrylic paint and Command picture hangers at home, so I was good to go.

Our home office doubles as my craft room, so I placed my supplies on my desk and got to work.

I used 2-3 coats depending on the shade and consistency of the paint. I mixed my own orange and it ended up too red. I kept the color, though. I figure I can always add more plaques and colors to that wall.

After the paint had plenty of time to dry, I used Mod Podge to apply my pictures. We had our printed at Fed Ex but I am sure there are places that we can go to get it done cheaper. My husband happens to work for Fed Ex Corporate. Since we have a Fed Ex right down the street, that's just where we go to get our prints made. 

 Here are the finished plaques in Baby J's room.

I will say that if I were to do this project again that there are a few things I'd do differently:
  • I'd cut the edge of the pictures to match the shape of the plaque. The rectangle picture on the oval plaque looks a bit strange to me.
  • I'd be better about centering the photos. The picture on the white plaque is off-center and is bugging me quite a bit.

There's plenty of room on the wall for more plaques, so I am pretty sure I'll be adding to the collection pretty soon. Overall, I'm pleased with the end result and I look forward to adding more wall decor to his room to give it a more finished appearance.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Busy-ness & Poe

“I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.” --Mother Theresa

 September - for me -  means the beginning of a very busy time. I do my best to have my Christmas shopping done by the end of October. I begin planning for various holiday events. I do my spring cleaning in the fall...

Since I was inducted into The Mommy Club last year, I'm especially excited for the holidays. My son, Baby J, is now 15 months old. He's the coolest little kid and I love seeing the world through his eyes. 

So, this year, my bestie and I are throwing a Halloween party for our kiddos. My bestie's daughter (my god daughter) is 6 years old and so much fun. Our children just adore each other and I just love seeing them together. This year they are both dressing up as pirates for Halloween. I just can't wait to see them both in costume!

I'm writing all this to say that I have a lot of projects in the works. I'm currently working on:

  • Homemade Halloween pirate costume
  • Wall decor for son's room
  • Wreath for the front door
  • Trick or treat bag
  • Halloween party projects 
  • Blinds for our dining area
  • Window treatment for our office
  • Window treatment for son's room

My husband is actually finishing up two projects for me. One of them is extra storage space from Learning to be me. He's also finishing up the painting in our office. Then it'll be time to tackle our master bedroom. Fun! 

Upcoming projects:

  • Canvas art
  • Wall shelves for the office
  • Craft Dresser
  • Updated Wicker Shelf
  • Reupholstered storage ottoman
  • Reupholstered rocker glider
  • Decor & Gifts for 70th birthday party

Our family experienced a tragic loss in early September and as such, it's been hard for me to think of much else. Being able to craft and update my home has been a much needed reprieve from my very muddled thoughts. I think that's why I have so many project irons in the proverbial fire - to keep my mind off of our loss. I know I need to face it head on and I know I need to grieve and process it in a healthy way. Until I figure out HOW to do that, I'll just keep praying, loving, living, and crafting. 

I'll conclude with a picture of my most recent Hobby Lobby purchase. I've named this little fella Poe. I wrapped some Halloween ribbon around his base. It's rather sloppy but it'll do until I figure out just what I want to do to dress him up. 


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Prayer Board

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

One evening I was browsing Pinterest and came across a prayer board. I thought this was such a cute idea and wanted to make one for our home.

With a vague idea in mind, I went to Hobby Lobby to see what I could use for this project. After a lot of searching, I finally decided on a cute picture frame. I wanted to be able to use chalk on my prayer board, so I bought chalkboard spray paint and happily carried my purchases home.

I then began to wonder what I would use as the surface of my prayer board. What could I spray paint that would hold up to chalk and lots of erasing? I then ordered some chalkboard Con-Tact paper. Of course, I then resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to wait for my supplies to arrive in order to resume crafting.

After an hour of daytime TV, I realized I was just itching to complete this project. So, I decided to paint the pane of glass that came with the frame.

First coat of paint.
It was over 100 degrees in the sweltering Texas summer heat. I was worried that the paint would bubble or not dry smooth. Thankfully, the first coat dried beautifully. The second coat went just as well.

I'd bought some chip board letters and used Mod Podge to adhere the letters to the painted surface. It was all I had on hand at the time and the result was great. I wanted to keep my prayer board pretty simple and without too many embellishments.

Finished prayer board.

Initially, I did use regular chalk on the board. However, I'd also ordered a chalk marker along with my Con-Tact paper. It works really well on the painted glass since it isn't porous. I like how neatly it writes and how cleanly it wipes off.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the end result.

No-Sew Drapes

"A clean house is the sign of a broken computer. "

Okay, my computer isn't broken. But our home office has been neglected for FAR too long. We recently had new floors installed and that set that wheels in motion to get the rest of the house all spiffy-fied.

Our office closet
Our office closet is an eyesore. The doors were removed for reasons I do not recall. I think it had only one door? Anyway, the shelf is sagging and the two litter boxes are placed on the floor of the closet since we have no other place to put them. As you can see, we're in the process of painting the walls (finally). So, I needed an easy way to hide the ugliness within the closet and still keep it functional for our three cats.

Hey! Drapes! That'll work!

Mind you - I do not sew. I never learned. I don't know how. I'm intimated by needles, thread, patterns, and sewing machines. Someday, I may brave a sewing class or two. For now, though, I need a no sew kind of project. Enter Pinterest.

I found this awesome step by step at Kathie's blog, Krafty Kat.

The supplies are pretty simple: fabric, scissors, fuse tape, measuring tape, pins, iron, and ironing board.

I won't write up a step by step as Kathie did a great job. I will say that my husband and I used Stitch Witchery instead of the Heat n' Bond that Kathie used with her drapes. We had to use a damp cloth when ironing the drapes to get the tape to work.

My sweet husband, J, helps by ironing the fuse tape to hem the drapes.
If I had to do it all over again, I'd definitely use the Heat n' Bond. That is why I've since purchased some and have stowed it away with my other crafting supplies.

Here are the finished drapes. Please keep in mind that the room is far from finished. We still have painting left to do, shelves, a window cornice, paint the wicker shelf (where our cats dine), and other decor for the room. To be continued...

And so it begins...

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”  ― Plato

I decided to blog for a number of reasons.

Ultimately, my family has had a lot going on recently. A lot of difficulty and many tests. Yet and still, I know just how blessed we are and how far we've come. I used to write in an online journal and it really helped me during those tough times.

I don't think I'm anyone special or extraordinary. I think that I'm a regular person with a story - just like you. I'm willing to share my story in hopes of reaching at least one person out there who may be feeling like she is dealing with something that no one can relate to.

I'm a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. I ran from God at an early age because I was convinced that believing in God meant a life of condemnation and rules. I am saved by God's grace and insistent pursuit of this rebellious spirit. I officially gave my life to Jesus at an Easter service in 2009 and was baptized in 2011 a few weeks before my son was born. 

I'm the daughter and only child of an ex-military Texan father and a native Thai mother. I've struggled with failed marriages, my weight, diabetes, infertility, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) , and uterine cancer.

I'm married to my best friend. We met while playing an online video game ( a MMORPG to be precise) back in 2000. (Have I mentioned that I'm a BIG OL' gamer and geeky girl? No? Well, I am. Yes, indeed.) My husband and I were married in 2005.

After years of trying to conceive and issues with infertility and cancer, we adopted our first child, our son, in 2011. We have an open adoption and a very precious and intimate relationship with our son's birth mother.

These are some of the pivotal moments and milestones in my very busy, very hectic, very full, yet very blessed life.

By blogging and sharing my experiences - past, present, and future - I hope to reach others that may be in a similar situation. I'll talk about my family, my friends, my faith, my brokenness, my ah-ha moments, my pets, and my crafting adventures. I hope to have my sister from another mister guest blog from time to time as she and I are having so much fun plotting and crafting together.

So, welcome to my little neck of the internet woods. Let's get to know each other better, shall we?