Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DIY Starbucks Cup Halloween Costume

We had our Fall Festival at church this evening, and I was so excited to reveal our costumes, particularly Parker's!!

This was a super simple costume to make.  Absolutely NO SEW! She already had the white shirt and leggings. All I needed was the "sleeve" with the logo. I bought a piece of tan felt and cut it in half length-wise.  I measured it around my daughter's belly and hotglued one end together.  Then I attached self-stick velcro on the other ends to make it removable.  I Google-searched images for the logo and printed it off on my home printer on a 4x6 background.  I cut it out and attached it to the felt using spray adhesive.  You could use iron-on paper, but I didn't have any on hand.  The spray adhesive held up really well!

For the headband, I cut a piece of oval felt the size I wanted the "whipped cream" to be.  Then, I simply hotglued stretched-out cotton balls all over it.  I hotglued the straw to the cotton and added more cotton balls to cover up the base of the straw and make it more sturdy.

The glasses frames were all my daughter's idea.  I borrowed a pair from a friend to wear for my costume.  When Parker saw mine, she picked up the other pair and demanded, "Glasses, Momma!" She put them on herself and wore them the whole night! It was the perfect touch for our Hipster Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Painted desk

Have you ever had one of hose days where everything seems to be going downhill and then one little thing changes all that? Well today was that day and this desk was that thing. 

I made a split decision to drive past a really hit-or-miss thrift/junk store that's right by my house. Seriously, I've found some great stuff there, but other times, it can be a total bust. They always have some items in the parking lot, so I thought I'd take a quick peek. Well, I saw this desk sitting next to the ugliest recliner you've ever seen. I had to rescue it.  The price tag said $9.99. 

Let me repeat that. 

The price tag. Said $9.99. 

Less than $10 for this gem!

I eve found a Ralph Lauren Polo dress for my daughter for $1.99. I scored today people. 

So I got the desk and brought it home. I couldn't wait. I had to start on it immediately. The wood was in really good condition. I sanded it down just to make it a little smoother. I painted on one coat of white leaving the seat and the desk top natural wood. Then, I heavily distressed the white parts. I sealed the natural wood with polycrylic to make it a bit more durable. 

Total, this piece took about an hour and a half to complete, including waiting on the paint to dry. I'm planning on keeping this and using it for photo shoots! Also, I can imagine my daughter doing homework on it when she gets older. I got really lucky with the thrift store today! It will be hard to top a great find like this one!

Monday, October 13, 2014

These little lights of mine

I was looking through one of the online yard sales that I follow and I found these two lamps. A friend I used to teach with had chalk painted a lamp, so I thought about giving it a shot. I picked up the pair for only $8!

I used my new favorite paint color- Valspar's Sea Sage. It took three coats to give it the coverage I wanted with no streaks.

Then I lightly distressed the edges and some of the grooves. I tried glazing it, but I didn't like how that looked, so I wiped it off. 

The lamp cords were that awful gold color that never blends in with any decor. My solution was simple, yet time consuming. I wrapped the cords in jute. I ran some hot glue up one side of the cord and wrapped the jute, then repeated up the entire thing. Each one took about an hour and a half to do. Thank goodness "Gilmore Girls" is on Netflix!

I gave the lamps a couple top coats of Minwax polycrylic  I like how it gave it an almost laquer-like finish. 

This was such a fun transformation.  I did one at a time, so I could get a good idea of the before and after.

It'd be such a shame if they didn't sell, and I had to keep them.  It's not like it matches my bedroom perfectly or anything ;)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"It is well with my soul"

In my life recently, there have been a lot of things going on. Several people I know have been diagnosed with cancer. School and work have been stressful. Trying to start a small business (in addition to my other small business) has been time-consuming. We had several, very expensive and very unexpected expenses... All-in-all, it has not been great. 

But I was reminded of the old hymn. I may not be able to say things are "great," but can I at least say "It is well?"

"Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say, 'It is well. It is well with my soul.'" 

Things may not be easy right now, but I am working on keeping my priorities in order, and my number one priority is my relationship with Christ. He will never give me more than I can handle; through Him, I can do all things! And because I know those things and believe them with my whole heart, I can say, indeed, "It is well with my soul!"  

I did this painting tonight. I painted a wooden board dark gray and did a coat of light gray dry brushing over the top. I printed outy words and places them in the board. Using a ball-point pen, I etched the outline of the letters. Then, I filled them in with white paint. My hand-lettering is not perfect, but I like the imperfections. It reminds me that not everything is always going to be perfectly beautiful. It might be "accidentally wonderful" instead. But I will still say, "It is well with my soul!"

Friday, October 3, 2014


This is not my daughter.  

She does not have perfectly fixed hair in which I have fastened the perfect hair bows to perfectly coordinate with her clean, expensive outfit.  She is also not this still.  Ever. She does what she wants.  If she wants to grind her cracker into the couch, she will do so no matter how many times I tell her to stop.  She is almost 19 months old, and she is a prime example of a toddler.

This is not my house.  

I do not have a beautifully landscaped yard free of weeds and fallen leaves.  I do not have Corinthian columns standing guard to the entrance of my home.  I do not even have a second story, let alone a second fire place. The sidewalk in front of my house is non-existent. I do not live in a gated community.  I do have a privacy fence, but my neighbors have a really tall deck, so... Anyway. 

This is not my kitchen.

I do not have marble counter tops.  I do not have a sink specifically to rinse off fresh-picked vegetables from my {imaginary} garden.  I do not have a gorgeous tile back splash behind my amazing stove and oven combo.  I definitely don't have the thing that is at the bottom of the picture with the glass door.  I'm not even sure what that thing is.

This is not my living room.

I do not have a white couch.  Even if I did have a white couch, I would not have a white couch (see the comment about my daughter).  My house is not accessorized without being cluttered, an accomplishment I have yet to complete.  My living room is not open and airy, nor is it flooded with natural light. 

This is not how my husband and I spend our evenings.

Just... no.

And that should be fine with me.  

But for some reason, it hasn't been.

There is so much judgement passed on wives and mothers.  Judgement about how we raise our kids.  Judgement about how we keep house.  Judgement about our husbands.  And we do it to each other.  We have become so focused on how we look to everyone else that we try to change what our lives are, or at least how they appear.  As I was finding images to illustrate what my life wasn't, it occurred to me: none of these pictures are real.

Each picture has been staged.  That little girl was fixed up by a team of professionals.  That living room and kitchen have been styled past the point of reality.  No one lives there, or at least, not really.  That happy couple... nobody sits like that.  At least not for any length of time.  It's uncomfortable.  It looks nice on film, though.  

But even though they aren't real, I still find myself longing for what they represent.  All the little details that I get so caught up in: trying to make my house look perfect, trying to seem like my child is perfectly behaved and that I have the perfect marriage.  I focus on the appearance rather than the reality.  

I found this verse today:
"But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42

Well, go ahead and call me "Martha."

I have been so focused on all the little details of my life, I have forgotten what my priorities should be.  First, I need to focus on my walk with Jesus.  In all the craziness of working full time, being back in school, having a one year old, and so forth and so on, I sometimes forget to stop and take time in the Word.  I get so wrapped up in my to-do list that I forget to be thankful that I have things to do in the first place.  Last week, I had a paper to write, so I skipped church Sunday morning.  I did not take a rain check and reschedule dinner plans with friends.  Instead, I neglected the most important relationship I have. And I did it without a second thought.  

My next priority should be time with my family.  After working in a high-stress job all day, I am exhausted by the time I get to pick up my daughter from her babysitter. Then when I get home, there are the household chores (because I want my house to look like a magazine), dinner to be cooked (because I have to look like Rachel Ray), and school work to be done (gotta keep that GPA up).  I get overwhelmed by everything I have to do that night.  Meanwhile, I have an amazing daughter who is growing up way too fast while I complete my to-do list.  I do not necessarily want to watch the same episodes of "Paw Patrol" over and over, or read the same book again and again.  But it makes her smile.  It makes her smile at me. Making her smile.  Now, that's a priority I should have. The same with my husband.  He leaves the house at 6:25 every morning and gets home at 6:00 that night.  Do I greet him at the door smiling? Not as often as I should.  Most often it's, "I'm glad you're home.  I need to go work on [insert something/anything here]."  We aren't even in the same room most evenings.  Sure, we tell the same stories about our days that we've heard over and over again, but it is important that we take the time to tell them.  It is more important that we take the time to listen to them

After coming to these realizations, I have come up with a new "hashtag" for my life: #becomingmary

Mary was the one who left the chores for another time.  She did not cook a big meal.  She did not clean the house.  But even as these things were left undone, Mary was doing something important. She was working on her relationship with Jesus.  She did not let the little details of her life overshadow the big picture of what is most important.  So as I work on becoming less like Martha and more like Mary, my prayer is that I am willing to give up control over the little things.  My house may be messy.  Dinner may come from a paper bag.  I may be rushed to complete a school assignment.  But my priorities will be in order.  I will be in the Word.  I will spend real time with my family- not just present in the house, but a presence in their lives.  I will leave things to be completed tomorrow, and I will be okay with that.  

Because I am #becomingmary  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Butternut Squash

This was so easy to make and really satisfied my sweet tooth in a healthy way!

All I did was steam a bag of pre-chopped butternut squash in about an inch of water. To steam it, simply boil for 3-4 minutes. Then I drained the water and added a tbs of butter along with a small sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar to taste. Stir it up and serve hot! A perfect dish to welcome Fall!