Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Taking the Time

Can we truly find the time to do it all? What exactly does "all" include?  What are my priorities?

My word for the year is Intention.  I posted about it here. What will this mean for me?

  1. I need to start my day right.  My day should begin with a devotional time.  First, I need to feed my soul, set my mind and heart on Christ, and then move forward with the rest of the day.  This is key for establishing a right heart attitude that I can carry through the rest of my day.  If my eyes and heart are set on Christ, I can handle whatever may come my way that day.
  2. Set a plan for the day.  I want to start each day with a guideline of what I would like to accomplish.  I just need to remind myself that it is only a guideline, not set in stone, and allow for changes if needed throughout the day.  I don't want to pass out on an opportunity to grow or nurture someone who may need me because of a schedule.  I want to find time to create, to garden, to drink in the small moments that are meaningful and so often passed over.
  3. No matter what my plans I have to accept that they will not always go the way I want them to.  There are times when I have everything played out in my head ahead of time.  I know exactly how things should go, down to the last detail.  But there always tends to be a curveball in there somewhere and my best laid out plans will go awry. I want to accept this and make the most of whatever opportunity I am faced with. Not letting wrong emotions take over.  This is certainly a struggle for me.
  4. Not compare myself to others.  I often feel like a failure because I can't do something like so and so blogger, and I don't have a perfect home like so and so.  I can actually sit at my computer at times and sink deeper and deeper into despair because of my inadequacies.  I need to be true to who I am in Christ.  Finding myself in him and not by comparing myself with others constantly.  I can never be anyone else, I cannot walk in their shoes, or understand their struggles, and no matter how beautiful things may look on their blogs, they are real people, with real everyday struggles and challenges.  I can no longer believe the lie that anyone does it all.  None of us can and if we try we will surely end up miserable and making those around us unhappy.
Edie is hosting a link party: Life. On Purpose.  Don't miss it.  So many wonderful bloggers sharing their ideas.

I realize that I won't be able to:

  • Have a perfect house, everyday, but I want to be thankful for the home God has blessed us with.
  • I won't cook every meal from scratch but I will try to prepare healthier meals for my family.
  • I can't sew all our window treatments.  I bought the fabric longer ago than I care to remember.  I've washed it with plans to get started and it's been sitting in the laundry basket ever since.
  • Thrift shop and refinish all of our furniture.  I have a secretary I purchased almost two years ago waiting to be refinished.
  • Use every book I've ever seen and loved for homeschooling.  After all there are only 2 1/2 years left homeschooling our son and he's off to college.  He is interested in art, mainly comic book/graphic novel art.  I need to focus on what he needs for acceptance into a great art school and not what I want at this time.  By the way, any tips on this?  It is so out of my league.
  • Bake my own bread from scratch.  Of course in my eyes, this would mean grinding my own wheat, which means I would have to purchase a grain mill and a new mixer because mine just isn't powerful enough.  And it goes the way of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."  I do bake my own bread occasionally, with store bought flour, and sometimes it's even white flour.  GASP! But I'm keeping it real.
  • Create amazing art everyday,in one form or another.  I want to incorporate this more into my days.  My craft studio is busting at the seams with all the supplies.  Now to be intentional in setting aside the time to put this into action.
  • Read Classical books.  I love reading, the printed word, stories from other times, becoming involved in the lives of the characters as you journey with them through joys and sorrows.  But I won't enjoy all the classics.  Some will challenge me and cause me to put them down and never want to return to them.  
Time will always be a challenge.  We never seem to have enough.  I want to take each day as a gift from God, embrace all He has for me.  Know that I will fail.  There will be things left undone and even dreams I may not achieve but He is gracious and will redeem our messes, heal our broken hearts, and place new dreams within us.  And in Him all things are possible.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Menu Planning & Time Management

January is the month for hunkering down and getting things in order.  It's the start of a new year and with it  hopes and dreams.  A clean slate, a time to focus on our dreams and hopes for this upcoming year.

This is the month for organizing, planning, and laying out our plans.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

This year I want to focus on time management and one of the biggest time thieves is not having a plan.  I can plan almost anything but my nemesis has always been meal planning.  This year I want to be more intentional about meal planning.

Edie, who is a rock star and a mentor to so many of us in blog land, has given us one of the best meal planning tools ever.  The best part is that it is so easy once you get started.  This has been available to us all along.  Google calendars will be your favorite tool in implementing a meal plan.  Edie has posted a tutorial on her blog.

You'll find that you love it once you get started.  My favorite piece is the fact that you can add the recipe to the calendar. Everything in one place makes it easier when supper time comes around.

Second favorite~you can repeat the meals.  Once you input your meal you can edit and choose how frequently you would like the recipe to repeat.

I have started on my menu and it is far from being complete but it is a start.  I have never had a menu plan that I stayed with.  I would start it but, usually within a month, I would stop.  The beauty of this is that once you have your favorite recipes in and you choose how often to repeat them, soon enough you will have a year's worth of meal plans.

While I was working on my menu plan I decided to go through my many recipe pins and bookmarks.  I spaced these new recipes through out the month.  Once I've tried them if they are keeper I will go back and edit it to repeat.  I will adjust the frequency according to how much we liked it.

Having a plan in place is such a help.  No more wondering what's for dinner at the last minute.  Rushing to thaw something and being disappointed in yourself.

Thank you sweet Edie for sharing this nugget of wisdom with those of us who have failed miserably with menu planning.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Upcycled Frame Tray & a Giveaway

Yesterday I posted about Edie's fabulous e-book, 31 Days to a Heart of Hospitality.  Well, sweet Edie has offered one of her e-books for a giveaway.  If you would like a chance to win a copy of her book, go on over to her blog and read through some of her posts.  Then come back here and leave a comment telling me your favorite post.  The contest will be open until Tuesday, January 29.  Don't blame me if you can't tear yourself away from her spectacular blog.  It will draw you in and keep you there.

Now onto my latest project.  While moving things from the basement to my new craft studio I found this frame that I purchased at Salvation Army a long time ago.
The price was right and I loved the shape.
I decided it was long overdue for a new life.  I started by peeling off the backing.
It was glued on pretty well but it came off without too much trouble.
Then I proceeded to remove the picture and cardboard backing.  I wanted to save the cardboard for what I was going to do.  I had to removed these staples carefully so as not to rip it to shreds.
It needed a good cleaning.  It sat in the basement for far too long and it was dirty.  I washed it down with TSP.  I removed the glass and gave that a good washing.
Once it was dry I gave it a couple of coats of paint and primer in one.  I used Behr in Swiss Coffee (I think that's the correct color).  I had it on hand from my hutch redo.
I watered the paint down a bit so it wouldn't give a full coverage.  I like the original color showing through in spots.

I had this burlap left over from my mailbox project.  I had purchased two yards originally because I loved it.
I cut a piece of the burlap to fit and wrapped it around the original cardboard insert.
I inserted it in the frame and pulled it tight. Then glued down the edges.
To cover up the messy back I cut a piece of brown craft paper to the size of the frame
and hot glued it all around.
Here it is all finished.  I am using it as a try.  I think I may add some handles to it.  Not sure.  What do you think?  Handles or no handles?
I think I will head to Hobby Lobby because they have so many gorgeous handles, and see if there is anything that catches my eye.
This transformation is perfect and I am loving it.
I added some hydrangeas and a candle to the tray

and it sits on my hope chest. This hope chest came from Portugal and belonged to my grandmother.  
I am thinking of painting it.  I am a bit torn about it but think it would look fabulous with a new color. 
Should I do it?  If so, what color?????
Help me figure this out!!!  I am a bit torn about painting an heirloom but not happy with the current finish.

Don't forget to spread the word about the giveaway above.

I'm linking to these great parties. Come on over and join us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Edie's Book is Here

I think that just about every blogger in this blogosphere knows Edie from Life in Grace.  If you don't~then don't delay~ You must hop over to her blog and check it out.  Just don't plan to do anything else for the next 6 hours because you will not be able to leave.  Through her amazing blog Edie's genuine heart shines through.

You will not be able to tear yourself away.

Edie bakes her own bread, decorates with flair, cooks the most amazing recipes from scratch, homeschools her daughters, reads classical literature that will make you grit your teeth, and she shares her heart.  

click on the above picture to buy Edie's book

I stumbled on Edie's blog in early 2009.  I just couldn't get enough.  I spent hours reading and rereading her posts.  She had me hook, line, and sinker from the very start.

Her southern hospitality and grace shine through in her writing.  She's witty, funny, beautiful, intelligent.

She painted a striped bathroom, chase chickens, and pluck weeds all while wearing True Religion jeans and sporting a Mac smokey eye.  

But above all this, she genuinely has a heart that reflects the love of Christ.  She shares her struggles, and her days are not perfect.  This is what draws me in more and more.

A couple of years ago, Edie lost her house in a house fire.  She lost everything except her dear family.  Through her blog we all journeyed through the rebuilding project with Edie.  She was not only rebuilding a house but a home for her family and in this difficult time God brought beauty from ashes in their lives.

She has now written an ebook to share with us tips on how to love our dear ones more, how to make time in our lives for what truly matters, and how to open our hearts and homes to those who need God's love here in this fallen world.  

I hope you take the time to go meet Edie if you are not familiar with her yet.  You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Valentine Wreath

Once I saw the marvelous yarn wreath from Anthropologie at Christmas I knew I wanted to give it a try.  
Although many bloggers gave this a try at Christmas time I had already made my tulle wreath and had so many other projects to complete at that time. But this wreath was always in the back of my mind and I couldn't wait to make one.
I started by making a bagful of pompoms.  These were made with yarn that my mom had given me so there wasn't any cost here.
I purchased a wreath at the Dollar Tree.  Once the pompoms were completed I began hot glueing them around the wreath.
The completed wreath.  I decided to make the bottom a bit fuller than the top.  Not sure if I really like it this way.  I may change it but for now this is how it turned out.
The great thing about this wreath is the versatility.  I embellish it in many different ways for the seasons.  
Here I added a snowflake I bought on clearance after Christmas for fifty cents.
This would look great hanging with a silver ribbon.
Or you can add a star.  I already had this in my stash.  Again it would be perfect paired with a silver ribbon.
I decided to go with a Valentine theme for now since it is right around the corner.  
This chalkboard heart was in my stash.  I painted the edges red and use a paint pen to write Happy Valentine.
It was small in scale compared to the wreath so I decided to add crepe paper around the edge.
I simply gathered it and hot glued it to the back of the heart.
To give a bit more pop I glittered the edge of the crepe paper.
Can't go wrong with a little glitter.

A red sheer ribbon from my ribbon stash was added.
To make the wreath even easier to change for different seasons or holidays, I simply looped the heart through the ribbon before I tied it.
Decided the bow looked better near the wreath instead of the wreath hanger.
Here it is hanging on our door.

The wreath is so simple and fun. The ribbon and embellishment can easily be changed for any season.  For Spring or Easter you could add a bunny or egg to embellish with a springy ribbon.  A shamrock for St. Patrick's Day.  I hope you try making one.  I would love to know if you do.   I had most of the supplies.  I only purchased the wreath form and snowflake.  The total cost was $1.50.  The only thing better would be free.

I'll be linking up to these great parties.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Word for the Year

Although we are well into this new year and the month of January, I wanted to share with you my word for the year.  I am a bit behind due to the flu but quickly catching up.

My goal and purpose for this year is to live my life day by day intentionally.  Too often I pass my days away just doing but not being intentional about what I am doing.  Imagine the difference I can make in our home if i do even the most mundane tasks with a purpose, with honorable intentions.

I love these definitions from Webster's 1828 dictionary:

 INTEN'TION, n. [L. intentio. See Intend.]
1. Primarily, a stretching or bending of the mind towards an object; hence, uncommon exertion of the intellectual faculties; closeness of application; fixedness of attention; earnestness. Intention is when the mind, with great earnestness and of choice, fixes its view on any idea, considers it on every side, and will not be called off by the ordinary solicitation of other ideas. (emphasis mine)

This says it all.  I will fix my view on being a blessing to others, finding joy in the moment, doing the daily tasks of housework with a heart of joy and thanksgiving for the blessings that God has given me.  Keeping my attention fixed on what is important.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

2. Design; purpose; the fixed direction of the mind to a particular object, or a determination to act in a particular manner.

A determination to act in a particular manner~what could this mean in day to day living?  That no matter what happens, little or big things, stresses and unwanted surprises, I will determine to act in a manner that is pleasing to God.  I will allow the leading of the Holy Spirit in me to guide my every action, thought, and words.  

I am praying that this year is a year of restoration and blessing for our family.  A year of God's promises being fulfilled.  

I will be linking up here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Craft Studio Organization

This room was originally our daughter's room but since she has moved onto the real world and college we decided it would become my craft studio.
This was the space before in these pictures.
I moved all of my craft supplies from the basement into this room.  I started this in December and it is still a work in progress but it is getting there.  I have so many inspiration photos on my Pinterest boards.
This is my ribbon drawer.  I have wrapped most of my ribbon around cardboard pieces to eliminate the bulky spools they are on.  Now this drawer needed to be neatened and organized.  

Here is the after:
I still have some very fine ribbons on their original spools under the cardboard.  This method saves quite a bit of space.  Much better.
This is a little cabinet that is a bit beat up but still loved.  I use it to store my yarn and papers.  I use many different containers on top to hold more supplies.

These sweet little porcelain buckets were on clearance a while back at Christmas Tree Shops for fifty cents. Now they hold my brushes, pens, paint pens and markers on my desk.
This container was from a Bath & Body Works gift set.  It has an interesting shape and I like the pattern on it.  I use it to hold bits and pieces of this and that while I work on a project.  This keeps the desk surface clear.  The small draw organizers are great to store paper punches, stickers, and many forms of ephemera.
This cabinet was in the basement but I brought it up to this room because it is a great storage piece.  It is a bit on the plain and uninteresting side so I want to pretty it up somehow.  I am currently looking for inspiration and ideas.  Please share any you have.
I used the small closet space to hold fabrics.  I hung them on the rod with skirt/pant hangers.
Underneath it is a three drawer cabinet to hold more supplies.

This room is far from being finished.  I will continue to work on organizing but I also want to use the time to create pretty things.  

I am linking to the Dog Days of Winter "Organize It" Party.  Hope you can join.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Neglected Spaces

Shortly after Christmas I came down with the flu.  I had not had the flu for about 14 years and completely forgot how horrible it really is.  It took me out of commission for quite a few days, and even when you start to feel better it leaves you feeling so weak.  It had taken some time to completely recuperate and start back with a schooling schedule.  Things are returning back to normal pretty much and I have missed blogging.  There were posts I want to complete for the New Year but they were completely forgotten about.  My only goal was to not feel so weak.
This post is about some slightly neglected areas of our home that finally received a dose of tlc.  
The first is in our bedroom.  I do have further plans for this room but that will be in a future post.
For now, I replaced my awful, on sale Target nightstand with a sweet little find.
Well hubby and I were on a date at this little village not far from us we found this little treasure.  
I need to get some baskets for the shelf to better organize it.  It is on the to do list.
We picked it right up.  I love the shape and finish on this piece.  The distressing is perfect and the price was almost too fabulous to believe.

I love the shape of the legs.  The shelf is already full of books on my must read list.
This area at the top of our steps was the second neglected spot.  It is the second floor landing of our home.  Not sure what happened to the picture.  The armoire does not have that color distortion in real life.
There was only one lonely chair there and I knew it needed something else.
My mom found and picked up this sweet little table at Home Goods.  I love it and how much better this space looks now.
I am much happier with this space. 
I need to add some art work to the bare walls and then it will be perfect.  The yellow is hubby's color choice.  I would have loved something a little more neutral but he likes it.  The picture below is the true color.  Up top is a bit too bright.  Not sure what happened with these pictures.

Next post will be my 2013 goals for our home.  Better late than never.

I will be linking up to these great parties.