A little DIY Update

Well, my dear Sonya noticed I didn’t have a back porch table. She found one someone didn’t want any longer and brought it to town to me. It was a good table just old…you know, chipping paint and raw wood.
A little sandpaper, a couple cans of spray paint, and a new foam brush for my polyurethane and voila…

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THEN….I realized I’m sewing enough to need a sewing corner (a sewing corner!!!!) and decided to trade in my big HUGE desk with built in filing and shelves for a smaller desk and a filing cabinet. The filing cabinet we bought from a friend and that took only a little spray paint and a few minutes. This set up maybe doesn’t sound smaller but trust me it’s a huge difference. The corner itself is likely temporary, the floor in our old house is very uneven in several places and unfortunately this is one of them. I may need a new spot. But for now it works…. here’s how it went….

20140702-144530-53130335.jpg(Don’t worry about the white on the outdoor carpet (HATE outdoor carpet btw) because when something gets on it, I just paint it back to black. Tricky.)

The desk was one given to us several years ago. Adam has used it for his desk catch-all for a couple years but recently chose to share a room with his brother and was ready to release it (if not the rock collection, scrap collection and drawer full of what we can only call trash). It had a laminate top like my dining room table had and I have had no issues with that redo. So I did it exactly the same way: my grandfather Clock’s sander, fine sandpaper, primer and paints. I love shabby chic decor and I adore the look of furniture much used so decided to give my new sewing desk not only the look of paint scrapped off but also with several layers underneath.

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To do this you sand then prime.
I added a coat of white after my primer using interior paint. Then sanded a couple places to show wood. Then I added colored paints (I went with a green and yellow that match the kids playroom since those rooms flow into each other (and I like them). After letting the colored paint dry, I added some Vaseline to those spots. Sounds crazy, yes I know. Then I spray painted two more coats until the white was even. I don’t often use spray paint but I’m trying to more- it is so much faster and easier.

Using sandpaper I sanded a few more corners and using a rag, wiped away the Vaseline. It’s hard to perfectly control the application of the Vaseline which makes it perfect for shabby corners- they look more genuine that way.

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While all those steps were taking place I also painted the old hardware the cute green. I needed two knobs as two were missing and found these at Hobby Lobby. It looks just perfect.

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The finished project looks perfect in my little sewing corner.

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And the little corner is getting good use already….20140702-145233-53553947.jpgThis is a quilt I began in 2001 during my senior year of high school. I spent a lot of time, a whole lot of money and a lot of frustration cutting and sewing the pinwheels together. I had a good bit of help and I’m proud to say I finished it by myself (and have begun two more in the meantime without the kind of “helpers” who take over…I have one in the hoop and one being pieced just like I wanted). It’s a beautiful quilt and I love that my whimsical tastes of youth fit right in with my kids’ playroom and styles now. It took me many years to finish this throw but it I believe it was all in the right timing afterall.

 

20140702-145327-53607757.jpgThis picture is a tiny glimpse into my current quilt being pieced. It is a surprise gift for someone and so I won’t show it yet. But let me just say it will be the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever made…the fabrics are glorious. I can’t wait to start making it real.

20140702-145328-53608688.jpgAnother pillowcase dress (shocker)! Lindsey and I decided to make the girls special dresses for Independence Day. We both have always gotten our girls a special dress for the fourth…this year we made our own. So proud and they are SO pretty! Can’t wait to see the girls in them on Friday.

20140702-150124-54084163.jpgOh, the little filing cabinet went from “fine” to cute. :) It fits right in now. (And is actually full of files. I’m so strange I enjoyed all that organization almost as much as painting the sewing table.)

 

Creation Kingdom Zoo

If you live any place in any way near Gate City, Virginia then you must visit. The Creation Kingdom Zoo is nothing short of amazing.

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I had been ‘warned’ the zoo wasn’t like a normal zoo- there are no paved walkways, fancy backgrounds in the exhibits….and there is purpose for that. The exhibits are more natural for the animals. The pathways are unobtrusive. And the zoo is successful at breeding and boasts healthy animals. There must be something to having a zoo created for the animals instead of the animals watchers.

Truly I had expected fun and knew from a friend that the lemurs are fantastic. But nothing could have prepared me for feeding them from my hands. It was an unforgettable experience.
Thank you Creation Kingdom Zoo! We are counting down to our next visit!

New Sewing Machine

I was taught to sew in my teens. I love it but wasn’t very good. I became easily impatient with projects or mishaps with the sewing machine. Then I was gifted a sewing machine for my high school graduation. It didn’t work well and wasn’t as nice as what I had learned on and I just wasn’t successful with it. Then about 5-6 years ago it broke. And I just haven’t had one since.

I’ve still done several sewing projects (custom curtains, a quilt, minor things like pillows) but I’ve had to borrow.

Then last week I was given a new sewing machine. It is lovely and wonderful. And all these projects I’ve thought to try all this time began forming in my mind again. So the last two days (and much of last night- I’m so tired, y’all) I’ve been sewing like crazy.

First I began a baby quilt. Then my dear friend Lindsey and I decided we could make matching Independence Day dresses for our girls together. While we were picking out fabric for that, we found so many more we wanted to make. We both bought fabric for multiple dresses. After several YouTube videos later, I finally have completed two pillowcase dresses.
It’s. Been. So. Fun.

Here’s a glimpse with more to come:

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We bought a pattern for this dress, as you can see below. Unfortunately it included cutting instructions but not sewing instructions and we got stuck quickly. I absolutely could not have made this dress without a tutorial that first time so the credit really goes to JustAddABow on YouTube. Here is a link to her videos. She made this so simple. 

20140528-002322-1402218.jpgI have this idea that I’m going to be a quilter who is always quilting. Like I was taught, I will be doing machine piecing and hand quilting. So there will need to be something in the hoop at all times and in the process of piecing at all times to make this happen. I have a quilt in my hoop now that I’m anxious to finish and this one on deck. My thought is to make many baby and throw quilts and then sell them. More to come about that on another day.

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I love this picture because of the hope that comes from cutting and preparing the pieces to become something. Something that is just ‘scraps’ will become beautiful and useful. Something from nothing.
Lovely.

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Sweet Lily modeling the first pillowcase dress. It was not nearly as good as the pink one but it was my first. It is still adorable (and needs to be ironed here, haha.) Lily loves it, and that does count!20140528-002327-1407301.jpg

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(The poses were all chosen by Lily. The purple mark on her face is a “heart” she drew on her cheek; a few days ago she accidentally did so with a pink marker and was distraught about it. To comfort her, I said it looked like an angels kiss (no clue where I came up with that, y’all). So today I look in the rear-view mirror on the way to speech and she is drawing on her face in the same spot. Oops.)

20140528-093234-34354804.jpgMy view for a couple of days. (Don’t worry the kids ate using the church pew (oh I’ve got to post about that!) and the fold out table. They thought it was fun.

That Guy

Ten years ago this last fall I met my husband. Nine years ago this spring we got married.
Yesterday I got to celebrate his birth for the tenth time. I’m honored to be the wife that makes his favorite: carrot cake. And I’m honored to walk beside him in this life.
Greg you are strong. You are courageous. You are kind. You are a fantastic dad. You are good. You are loving. You are hard-working. You are giving. Thanks for being mine. I love you.

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an apology

When I was a very little girl, I had a babysitter.  She lived near my home and was friends with my mother. At that time she was just a young girl herself, in middle school I suppose and I was about three years old. As she grew older, she also grew closer to my family. Eventually she would be considered and named as a member of it.

Unofficially, officially, generally…I called her my sister.
(Sonya has a sister who is very special to her and I’ve always been thankful she has shared Sonya with me, I’m sure at times it has been hard for her. Even a taste of such a great big sister is a big deal and so I am grateful.)

Through the years, there were times I resented this big sister I was given. There were times I was mean to her. There were times I was jealous of her.  I suppose that’s true of most sister relationships at some point, right? There are no perfect or imperfect relationships, only healthy and unhealthy ones.

Anyway, Sonya was a constant in my life. More than that, she was consistent. I cannot remember her ever being mean to me. Never do I recall her making me feel bad about myself or hurting me purposefully. I really always loved that about her.

Things I do remember:
her teaching me how to shave my legs.
her answering my questions about kissing boys.
very serious discussions in the garage at the house on the hill.
her giving me advice about (ahem) marriage stuff.
celebrating our ‘confirmation’ on the same day.
her helping me through many heartaches.
coaching me on making good choices.
endless acceptance.
parenting encouragement.
And I was there when she had her first child.
I was her bridesmaid.
She was my bridesmaid.

Oh- and, it’s worth mentioning too, the time she bought me a new dryer when ours died a couple weeks after Seth was born. (Amazing, right?) And the other day when she came by with a brand new sewing machine for me. Seriously.
Sadly, the year I got married, it was decided Sonya was no longer a member of our family.  She was cut out. And there is a whole lot that goes into that but if you know our family, you’ve seen it before anyway.  Besides the point is that once that happened everything and everyone became weird.

We were all at a place of pleasing the leader of our family or having a relationship with this person who we had always known, had been told to trust and had come to love.

And I chose the road less traveled.

Only I did so in secret.

There were always visits. She held all my kids when they were tiny. She has been to every house we have lived in in Tennessee. There have been lunches, dinners, a couple slumber parties, countless toothbrushes and pillowcases, cards and hugs, texts and calls.

I never cut off this relationship with her. There were times that I regret it went many months in hiatus. But it never, ever ended. And I am so thankful to Sonya, not only for being consistent in who she IS but also that she understand my confusion and struggle at times to know how to handle the situation. I messed up many times but she never turned her back on me.
She never acted angry when I would not post pictures of our adventures.
She never called me out on acting uncomfortable or weird.
She was careful with her words and never tried to convince me to take any action on her part, or even mine. Anytime I reached out, she was there.

And that has never stopped being true.

So, for all the times I pretended we had lost contact to save face, I apologize.
For all the times I participated in or allowed myself to be used as a way of hurting you, I apologize.
Anytime I pushed you away, I apologize.
All the times I tucked pictures of you with my kids away into a folder on my computer instead of my Facebook, I am sorry.
You didn’t deserve any of that.
You’ve been a fantastic big sister and I am thankful for you.
I know I’m a risk…that loving me and giving of yourself to my family is a risk. Thanks for taking that chance on me, over and over. I love you!

I also am thankful for the stroll down memory lane I took in order to write this post. No more secrets.

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IMG_4043imageThanks for always being there.

 

 

Be Still.

There has been so much warring in my mind these days.
That I’m forced to relive the worst days amongst lies and more hideous lies is the ultimate blow.

But I pray for peace and the Lord provides. Moments at a time, as I trust Him. He who knows the truth far more than even I. He sees the heart.

The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.

Be still.

I arise from bad sleep and fretting and I go to do what God has laid before me, in His plans: these four children. These four not-accidentally-given-to-me children. Children I fought for. Children who were hard-won. My sheaves as I say.

I will rise and feed their mouths and their minds. I will feed their little hearts as I teach them what it looks like to forgive even as I do not want to. I will teach them what it looks like to walk away from those who strive to create strife and pain and madness and to do so without malice even as my heart aches. I will fight my own anger and my own need to defend, because that is right and good.
I will teach them what it looks like to truly love and truly give. I will do better than was done to me on any given day. And I will do it through Christ who gives me strength. I will laugh and we will celebrate the finality of our first year of home learning. I will sing and we will dance and there will probably be play dough and Zingo and fetch with the dog at some point. We will read to each other and share food.
This is life.
From the life-giver.

Because these children were not given to me by accident. They were given by the God of the universe. This I know. And I will trust.