Saturday, July 31, 2010

We Have A Winner!

The winner of a copy of Making a Mess and Meeting God is comment #14,

which is Carolyn!

Carolyn, send me an email with your address and I'll make sure you get your copy. Congratulations!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Chalkboard Globe

As I cleaned out my basement and created my "keep" and "sale" piles (as I do every year). I rummaged through the sale pile once more.

I drug out this globe which I had originally planned to take into my classroom several years ago. As I wiped the cob-webs off I decided to put it in the keep pile and keep it I shall.

This simple craft calls for just a few supplies: chalkboard paint (sold in quarts $11.00 at Home Depot..ouch), a globe, some spray paint and a brush. (chalk too!)

I first painted the globe with several coats of the chalkboard paint.

Once the paint was dry I took the globe apart and spray painted the base with white Krylon spray paint.

And last I simply added my drawings to the piece.

A simple art piece for my home.

I will be linking up to these parties this week and I look forward to showing you my Rt 127 Yard Sale finds the next time we meet!

And, look me up at the CSI Project for Kids Crafts this week!



Thursday, July 29, 2010

Living Room Makeover: Gray with a Pop of Turquoise

A little bit less than a week ago I wrote this plea regarding my "Random and Beige" living room. Well, perhaps there is a reason my friends and husband think I am crazy, because over the weekend, in less than 4 hours, I redid the entire space. I kept going back to the pictures and listening to the advice left by others and I just couldn't stand it! Once my pictures were out there in space, I just could not stand the unrest I felt.

So, on Sunday, my husband and I took advantage of a few hours of babysitting and cleared out, repainted and reorganized our living room. Here is the result:



The first step to freshening up this room was a new paint color. I loved the ideas both Sandy and Rachel gave to include a hazy, grayish blue. I ended up finding Manhattan Mist at Home Depot and loved it. We used a paint plus primer grade paint, and here is the real kicker, we only had to do ONE coat. Talk about time saver, we painted the whole room in less than 3 hours! And by the time we finished, the first walls were dry enough to remove the tape. It was awesome. I may be biased, but I believe the gray really made the beige couch pop. You can really see the shape of the piece and it works well to keep the new cool room warm and comfy. (And sorry to those of you who suggested we slipcover it, it was a recent purchase and my husband basically attached himself to piece and refused to let me do any such thing!)

With the gray backdrop, our accent colors of blue and green really came to life. I was able to rearrange some accessories I already had to get just the right touch. At this point, we chose not to hang anything back up on the walls. I love the way the paint color just calms the whole room and makes all of the furniture pieces and accessories feel purposeful. I am not longer distracted by the chaos of the wall decorations.

We kept most of the existing furniture in the room, rearranging it slightly. I just couldn't part with my $10 antique rocker. It provided a lot more interest than the old slip covered recliner, so we booted the latter to the office for now. I recovered the seat in a rustic yet modern floral pattern that I felt tied into the room perfectly. (And, it didn't cost a thing because it was scrap fabric I already had at home!)

Before, the fabric choices were pretty much cohesive, but my rosette pillow threw off the whole color scheme. Now, I feel a lot better about the combination of the fabric, and have ordered a nice modern, geometric fabric that matched nicely to make large couch pillows as some suggested.



I did add one new piece to the room, which was the large mirror. While the picture below doesn't do it justice, it is a large piece that really does help bring the room to life. It reflects all the way down the hallway and picks up a lot of light. It also helps the black coffee table, curtain rods, and TV feel much less random. I love it! Thanks Kim. The second you left your comment I was thinking, "Of course, a mirror!" And I did indeed find the perfect one at homegoods.

All that was needed were some small changes, like replacing the overly formal black knobs on my TV cabinet. Every time I looked at the piece it was so black and white and didn't mesh well with what I had going on in the room. So, with $2 knobs from Hobby Lobby the piece got a little makeoever.


Finally I added some $7.00 panels I found at Target and the room felt perfect. It is calming, uncluttered and just right for my family. We gravitate towards the cool colors, as the rest of our house would certainly show you, so this room is now very much in character for us.

I would still like to add a rug as almost every commenter suggested, but we just haven't found the right one yet. There are a few from Dash and Albert that I am swooning over, but with the price tag, maybe we will make that a Christmas present this year. Or, if we can get to Ikea anytime soon, I know there are a few there that might be just the ticket. Our budget for this makeover was $200 and we came in at around $150; mirror, knobs, curtains and paint included. I am feeling pretty good about that!

I'll be linking to the CSI Turquoise Project

Happy Thursday!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Making A Mess and Meeting God: Review and A Giveaway

**Note From Erin: I recently read an inspiring book that discusses worship through the arts, and I thought that many of our readers might appreciate it as well. As such, it includes my perspective as a practicing Christian and will perhaps be most relevant to readers who share that perspective. **

A Review of Making A Mess and Meeting God, by Mandy Smith

I feel like I should confess, upfront, that I am not a person who typically looks for alternative forms of worship. If the minister says something like, “Okay, we’re going to do something a little bit different today…” my husband and I automatically look down at our little nursery buzzer, silently (or not) begging it to start buzzing. We console ourselves with, “We’re just a couple of introverts,” to squash any guilt we may feel over just wanting to avoid the uncomfortable situation that is rapidly coming our way.

Ironically, this is one of the reasons why I loved this book. If an author can make my grumpy, foot-dragging, introverted self feel inspired to step out of my comfort zone, then this author is obviously very talented and has some good things to say. Such is the case with Mandy Smith.

Mandy is an Associate Pastor at University Christian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. She did her BA in Biblical Studies at Cincinnati Christian University, and was Valedictorian. She and her husband are originally from Australia, and currently reside in Cincinnati with their two children and one dog. She is in charge of the worship service as a part of her current role, has served on worship teams in the past, and was the creator of “The Collect,” a citywide trash-to-art project that took place in Cincinnati in 2007.


Mandy's sets out to help readers discover the potential that ordinary activities and daily life have to teach about God in a new and deeper way, and much of this discovery is done through various forms of art. She hypothesizes that, “If we explore new opportunities to find the divine in the ordinary, and through a little artful play, then we will discover new depths in our comprehension of and communication with God.”

Mandy leads the reader through a collection of object lessons for grown ups. Each of these lessons is explored in two main forms. First, there is a purposeful effort to find God in the everyday moments and activities. Second, there is exploration through art. Each chapter has a different set of themes that it explores, culminating in a re-evaluation of what one thinks about God, shifting from a working toward him mindset, to working out how to realize that he is already there.

My Highlights:

Introduction of “Recipe Cards”

In the first chapter Mandy describes a time when her church was exploring the topic of spirituality. They agreed that spirituality wasn’t necessarily about going on a quest to find God, but about being aware of his presence in their every day lives. The ministers invited the members of the congregation to submit the ways that they experience God through the ordinary. In light of churches often putting together recipe books by compiling the members’ favorite recipes, they called these their “recipe cards for spirituality.” These recipes are peppered throughout the book, and I found them to be engaging, encouraging and often examples that I really resonated with.

Biblical Teaching

Each chapter begins by introducing the themes and passages that the lesson is based upon. What follows is poignant teaching, thoughtful investigation of these themes and really practical means of application. Admittedly, with a professor for a husband, I hold education and knowledge to a very high regard; So I was encouraged to read a good balance of biblical teaching and creative challenges. Neither was slighted in favor of the other.

Awareness of Potential Awkwardness

This was a bit of a big one for me, because of the stress I described at the beginning of this review. Mandy obviously knows that there are hurdles when dealing with a subject as personal as finding God, particularly when looking for alternate means of doing so.

She discusses obstacles such as opening oneself up to creativity, how to deal with the dynamics of group settings, helping introverts to feel comfortable, varying skill levels, people who are tied to their traditions, distractions in a group setting, the “cool factor” involved in being non-traditional, just to name a few. She addresses these issues head-on and with helpful suggestions for moving beyond them. Furthermore, in each experiment, she provides possible adjustments to make it work for an individual, for small groups or for corporate worship settings.

Challenging and Relevant

Though the topic of finding God is not a new one, Mandy’s perspectives are unique and very relevant.

The ideas are refreshing; much like talking to a friend with the rare gift of insightfulness and thoughtfulness. It is written with such clarity that I found myself underlining sentences periodically, thinking, “Yes. She put that perfectly.” The experiments are applicable and interesting, and sent me rushing out to the store and scrounging around the house for supplies so that I could try them out.

Addressing the Big and Small Picture

When I originally looked at the book, the title Making a Mess and Meeting God made me think that it would be full of various creative projects to help a person become more aware of God’s presence. I was right, but there are also broader applications. “The mess” also is in reference to the mess of our world or the various messes in our lives, and Mandy leads us to find God in those as well.

Who is This Book For?

I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for encouragement or new ways to think about the Christian life. With each chapter as an object lesson, it’s a good choice for ministers or small groups.

Though it may naturally appeal to people with some interest in art or creativity, the applications are relevant to all.

For more about this book, including the option to purchase, click here.

How do you find God in your every day experiences?
Leave a comment below for a chance to win a free copy of Making A Mess and Meeting God.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gift Idea #1

My sisters and I created our own Sister Day years ago. It is always so much fun to be creative with their gifts. Last year, I made them some little birdie cards and titled the bundle, "a little birdie told me..." and on the back it said, "you are a great sister!".

I ordered some vintage bottle tops from this Etsy shop that I thought were perfect and super glued magnets to the back of them and there you have it...

Now of course there should be fun packaging to hold your cute magnets. Type up a name or personal message to the recipient on cardstock or even just regular ol' printer paper. Measure it against a sandwich baggie and cut it to the size you want. Cut off the top of the baggie and just staple your label to the bag. Simple as that. Now you have a fun and personal gift...

I always love to stamp the date of the special occasion on the back of my label for an added special touch. Love is in the details. Even if nobody else notices them, I know they are there and that is enough for me...

You could do the whole alphabet with scrabble tiles or letter stickers and gift them to a child that is learning their letters. You could spell out a friends name for their refrigerator. You could find bottle caps from their very favorite soda. Oh, and buttons make cute magnets too. And if you are feeling artsy, buy a set of mini wooden squares or circles from a craft store and design your own with numbers, letters, or pictures. The possibilities are endless with this gift and that is why I love it.

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Clothesline Photo Display

This is one of those projects that I almost feel a little sheepish writing a tutorial for, because it is so very basic, and you can probably guess how I did it by looking at the final picture. But while some projects sit in my mind for a few months of pondering, gathering materials, and working at them a little at a time, other projects come together out of necessity, in a single nap time, with materials scrounged up from around the house and $3.00 at Jo Ann Fabrics. Like this one.


As I stated last week, I have recently moved my craft room into our old office and moved "the office/my husband's stuff" out. However, he kept the bulletin board and pictures that I had in there, so I set out to get myself something similar. So I repossessed a frame from my son's room and got to work.

I'm still trying to make the room a bit more feminine and inspiring, so I got some pretty blue damasque fabric from JoAnn's and go to work. I didn't have any foam board, so I just covered the original art piece that had been in the frame with fabric batting. It was too thin (and sturdy) for staples, so I just hot glued the batting down about every 3 inches, which did the trick.


I cut my fabric about 1 1/2 inches larger than the batting, because I know that I will eventually re-do this board, and wanted to be able to remove the fabric easily while leaving the batting in tact. So I glued down the fabric in a similar fashion, pulling it snugly as I went.


I wanted to be able to change out my photos easily, but I was looking for something slightly different than the typical memo board, so I thought I'd make a little clothesline. I got some cotton twine and hot glued it to the top corners of my frame pulling it pretty tautly. (You may want to try hanging a few pictures from your line and see how low it dips before you glue on the second side. Photos and clips are surprisingly heavy on a little line like this.)


I then popped the fabric-covered board into the frame and tested out a few photos.


I used these tiny little clothespins on my line, which are a little smaller than the pad of your thumb. They are ADORABLE! When I got them I had originally planned on gluing little rosettes or something fun to the top of them for an extra embellishment, but I ended up loving them as is.


Once my photos were up I realized that the pictures that had been printed in "landscape" left enough room on the board for a second row. So I added a second string about halfway down the frame for another row of photos.


I was so happy with how the fabric backing provided a fun "mat" for the photos. It was a great alternative to matting a bunch of the pictures in little frames and grouping them together.


I love it! It was one of those happy projects that is easy, cute, cheap and functional.


I'm linking to these incredible parties here.

Also, I'm sharing my tutorial on Freezer Paper Tote Bags over on Just Another Day in Paradise's Christmas in July party! If you missed it the first time around, click here to see it. Actually, there are tons of great ideas over there, so you should probably visit no matter what, and start thinking about and creating your Christmas gifts now!

See you Wednesday to share my favorite read this summer by far!!



Saturday, July 24, 2010

We Have A Winner!


Our winner of a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils is comment #52,

Screen shot 2010-07-24 at 8.28.55 AM.png

which is Kristen!

Screen shot 2010-07-24 at 8.32.14 AM.png


Please send me your email address so I can put you in contact with the people at Cutting Edge Stencil.  Congrats!!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!





Friday, July 23, 2010

Home Dilemma: Random and!

Erin received such fabulous feedback and great ideas last week that it inspired me to ask for your help myself. I have been dying to make some changes to continue updating my living room and thought I could ask for your help.

Okay, so in order to write the post I truly had to overcome my fear that you might see how terribly random and beige my living room is and just stop reading what I am up to all together. I promise, I have much better rooms in this house! So with that out of the way, we'll move onto my dilemma.

Here is my beige living room.

It is a random mixture of accessories and color.

And again, the walls and furniture are just so... beige. I mean, sometimes I think I have a hard time determining where the beige couch ends and the super beige wall begins.

Here are my questions.

1. What color should I paint this room?
2. Where can I buy inexpensive yet awesome drapes?
3. What is your #1 favorite design element out there today that is CLEARLY NOT
a part of my living room?

PLEASE!! Take a minute to enlighten me with your best ideas. I need your help! Thanks in advance for inspiring my upcoming design choices for this space, can't wait to see what ideas are out there

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