Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Easy Christmas Decorating (with Kids)

It's December!  Time to decorate.  There are so many awesome bloggers out there who have had their homes beautifully decorated for a month now, giving amazing tips and tricks along the way.  I love those bloggers but I'm not one of them.  I also love Christmas decorating, but nothing comes out until the day after Thanksgiving for us.  So, now I can go crazy, and if you have seen the outside of our house - Justin already has too (think Griswold).

This year we have a 4 year old, and boy is he pumped about Christmas.  So I decided to take advantage of that excitement and plan some easy and fun Christmas activities for us to do together.  We are starting off with a classic, the Christmas Tree paper chain garland.

We gathered our supplies, just the basics and nothing fancy.  Don't worry, I used the scissors.  I used a combo of christmas craft papers and some neutral papers I had.

This was a team effort, Silas tore the perforated piece off of the papers (probably his favorite part of the whole thing) and picked out which ones he wanted as we went.  He also helped with the stapler, emphasis on helped.

In about an hour we had a sweet couple of paper chains, ready for our tree.

I love the handmade addition to our tree this year.  For me, the more handmade things on the tree, the better.  

Sometimes just a simple, classic Christmas project is just what the season orders.  The sweet time with your kid is the best part.  I have some more little projects coming later this week!  Happy Christmas decorating!! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Easy DIY Rustic Stars

Am I one of those people who has been listening to Christmas music for weeks now, has already scoped out Santa in the mall and has been using my Christmas mug like its the best thing ever?  Yes! I can't help it, I love the season of Christmas.  For so many reasons.  It's just such a sweet and joyful time of year.  The focus is always on the Joy that Jesus brings us and I can't help but love that.  I can listen to Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God 10,000 times in a row.  What a special time, so why not extend it for as long as you can?  I know there are some Thanksgiving lovers out there, and don't get me wrong I love a good Thanksgiving too.  I just love this whole season.  So with all that being shared, lets make a little Christmas project.  Its simple and easy and barely cost anything! 

When it comes to Christmas decor I love everything - but I do lean towards certain things more and rustic and homemade decor is just my favorite.  These stars meet both those criteria.

Supplies needed:
1. Wood Shims
2. Liquid Nails (and caulk gun)
3. Trash bags for a work surface or anything to protect your table

This is really the simplest project in the world.  The hardest part for me was finding the wood shims.  They seem to migrate around the hardware store so I always have to ask where they are.  Usually they are on some random end cap.

I always have a sweet helper with these projects,  I ended up making 3 stars, he was good for one and then had to go race cars. Priorities.

So really all you need to do is use your liquid nails to attach the wood shims together into a star shape.  I did lay out my shape first so I would have a good idea of where I was going and then went from there.  You will need to glue the ends and also the cross points.  Liquid nails is really forgiving to use if you have never used it before.  You have a good 10 minutes before it really starts drying so you can move and adjust as you need to.  Let them dry overnight and you're done! 

These stars really can go anywhere, outdoors, indoors, tree toppers, hanging, I could go on.  Also you could paint them, stain them, decorate them.  In the end I think I'm leaving mine just the way they are, I just love the kind of rustic feel it has. 

I can't wait to get working on more little Christmas projects...and maybe even some last minute Thanksgiving ones too.   Thanks for stopping by today!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Restoring Shine to an Old Hardwood Floor

If you own an older home that has carpet you often wonder, could there be hardwood floors hidden underneath?  And then you think, "surely no one would cover up a hardwood floor, that seems ridiculous!" That is definitely something we wondered when we bought our house several years ago- but, we were never quite ready to discover the truth.  So we lived with carpet that I really couldn't stand for over 2 years before we even looked.  If you learn anything from me on this blog please learn to check under your carpet as soon as you move in! You never know what treasure lies beneath.

So one random day we got up the nerve to peek underneath.  One of our friends Mark was over and we were watching March Madness and for some reason we thought yes, this is this best time for this. First we pulled back a little by the vents and we could see it - it was right there the whole time.

Boy were we excited, but then a little rush of nervousness ran over us - what was the condition of the floor and were we ready to dive into that?  That feeling was a fleeting moment because we barely blinked and dove right in and started ripping out the carpet.  It's great when you really don't have a plan and you pull out carpet while moving furniture around the whole situation.  Skills.  So, below you can see the condition of the floor.  Not the best but not the worst either.  I was just exited that the floor was seamless throughout.  No weird patches or major issues.

After we got the living room carpet out we decided to pull out the rest.  Two of our bedrooms and the the little hallway is all hardwood (the kitchen, bathroom and addition of the house is not).  The biggest issue the flooring had was paint splatters.  Somewhere down the line I guess the idea of carpet sounded awesome so they haphazardly painted the rooms with no regard to the beautiful hardwood floor.  So for days I scrubbed and scrapped little paint splotches until the floor was clean.  It was pretty awful but worth it.   I'm sure you are all now wondering, why not refinish the floors?  Yes, totally something we want to do but currently our schedule just has not lended us to that.  We just haven't found a good time yet.  So, luckily for us the floor is in good enough shape to get through for a while just the way it is.  Actually the bedrooms are awesome, the only really bad room is the living room - but we are making it work.

So after the paint was all cleaned up I searched around for a good cleaning solution.  I settled on the Bona products.  I have to say, I really like them.  I used the floor cleaner and scrubbing pad that came with it first and then used the floor polish.  I just followed the directions from the bottles.  It was really easy.  Oh, and side note Target carries this product and it cost significantly less than the other large hardware stores.

Another side note, someone really like their round rug years ago.  After you apply the first coat of polish it will look super glossy (I chose the glossy finish as opposed to the satin).  It will not dry this glossy.  I ended up applying 3 coats of polish until I was satisfied with the finish.

Here is the final result...So much better right?  You have to kind of look above at the ripping out of carpet pictures to see the before but it definitely made a huge difference.

I just don't understand why someone covered this up!

If you have an older hardwood floor that you aren't ready to completely refinish yet then I would say give these products a try.  I was super surprised at how much the floors came to life after.

I'm sitting here months later looking at the floor and I can say that the shine is definitely still here.  It has really held up well.  We love, love our floors and love that we are bringing a little bit of the original part of the house back to life.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Style and Self Image

Self Image.  Yuck, sometimes I'm tired of hearing, reading and talking about it.  If you are a woman we are almost constantly bombarded with this.  Everyone has opinions and ideas about what a healthy self image looks like.  What the world displays and what scripture tells us are usually completely opposite of each other.  One minute the media tells us to celebrate our differences and beauty in the imperfections and the next we see a weight loss commercial displaying Mariah Carey practically poll dancing wearing almost nothing as motivation for looking and feeling great about ourselves...I guess that's supposed to be our end goal?  Scripture though thankfully gives us some wisdom on the matter...

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well Psalm 139:14

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Clothing is really not that important, I mean please wear clothing, but what you wear at the end of the day should meet the requirement of honoring God.  I like getting together a good outfit like any other woman out there and I think everything you do can and should be done for the glory of God.  Each extraordinary or mundane task can be set apart for bringing glory to Christ.

I think just naturally self image and what you wear can be easily tied together.  Either we try to improve our self image by drawing attention (positive or negative) to ourselves by our clothing choices, or we try and hide behind them to distract anyone from looking our way.  It can be a tricky balance sometimes for us - at least for me.  

I'm not going to lie, putting myself out there on this blog like this - with nothing but photos of myself is totally out of my comfort zone.  Its feels vulnerable and really strange.  But at the end of the day, this is me, this is who God created and I'm totally thankful for that.  We all have interests that draws us together and we should all find ways to have community through our interests because God should be woven into each of our choices and conversations.  He is God over it all.  Whether its crafting, reading, blogging, home decor, exercising, baking, boxing - whatever you do.  In this new season of blogging I decided I needed to stretch myself a little and try something new.  Sharing outfit ideas is one thing, but sharing my heart and having conversation about self image and being made in the image of God is another.  I have lots of thoughts floating in my head about this topic.  Maybe its because I work with teenagers and encourage them daily about healthy self image or maybe its just because I'm a woman and we all feel it.  Either way,  I hope we can find the right balance,  realize who we have been created to be, just have fun and enjoy what we enjoy and bring honor to God in the middle of it all.  

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

House Tour - Updates

I wasn't really sure where to begin with so many changes and projects currently happening at our house.  So, why not start with a mini update.  If you want a quick reminder of how things looked when we moved in and how everything was, you can check out our house tour page.  I'll update that page soon, but for now here's a little glimpse of what we call home.

Can I just say that I am currently loving our living room.  Its cozy, inviting, very much us and I love being in here.  And yes, that's an original hardwood floor.  We unearthed it several months back and it was a much welcomed discovery.  I'll give a rundown post on the wood flooring situation soon.

Our living room and kitchen are completely open to each other in the front of our house.  I love the openness and its great for a small home.   

New flooring is abundant in our house, including a new tiled kitchen floor (new as in last March).  

Also if you look close you can see the trim molding that still needs to be done...all in good time.

Up close and personal with our new floor...can you tell I kind of like it?

My current favorite room to work on - Silas' room.  We've painted, pulled out carpet, replaced lights, added new artwork, etc...and my list is still pretty long on what else we want to do.  

I have let Silas help make the decisions along the way and its been a fun project for both of us.  

Hallway bath...nothing new going on in here but I still love a good white shower curtain.

This room is completely different, the once spare/guest room has been taken over by Silas and is now a playroom.  I am constantly working on the organization in this small space - constantly.

I have purged (mostly while Silas is gone, shhh don't tell him), gathered, grouped and I'm still in the process of making this all work.

Currently I have just been using what we have on hand for organization except for a few bins I grabbed at Target.  But soon I'm going to add in some much needed shelving to really give this room some greatly needed storage space.

We still love our chalkboard doors!  And, yes we do have a Disney countdown currently taking place.  We are actually a lot closer since this photo was taken so - I.cant.wait.

Our bedroom, laundry and bathroom were left off, there isn't much change in those rooms as of right now but I have so many things on my list to do in those spaces.  But now that we are all nicely acquainted again with our home we can start getting serious about the details.  Can't wait to overshare with you soon!  Thanks for stopping by today!  

Monday, November 10, 2014


I started this blog almost 4 years ago with no expectations or goals in mind.  It was a fun project, a good outlet and a great way, I found to connect with others.  As time would have it, the blog grew and it was kind of exciting.  I however, had no idea what I was walking into.  The world of blogging is big, sort of overwhelming and I started to feel pressure instead of excitement.  I just wasn't prepared.  So I stepped back, reassessed what I wanted out of this and took some time to just think.  Thinking is good for creativity, I'm a big thinker (sometimes to a fault...overanalyze - yes that's me) but I needed time to clear my head, enjoy being creative, work on the house as just us and make some decisions about blogging. Who knew 4 years ago that blogging would mean so much to me?

What a strange world this is that people would like to read about what piece of furniture I painted this week or how I organized the junkiest part of the house.  I still can't quite wrap my mind around it.  But, what I do understand about life is that community is important and one part about reading other blogs that I love is relating to others who share the same interests and ideas as me.  A blog that seems real and personal is the most interesting and what I am truly drawn to.   I like diy, so I relate to others who do.  I love youth ministry so I relate to others who do.  I like shopping and a good outfit, so I relate to others who do.  I'm a mom so I love hearing and reading about other moms experiences and ideas.  Community is essential to all of us.

And I think that is something I have really learned over this past year.  Community is essential to life - especially when it comes to our spiritual lives.  We have not been created to be alone or to even do life alone.  

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

I think that's my favorite thing about blogging.  Connecting and relating to others.  It may be on a deep spiritual level or a fun and creative way but its all important.  And my hope is this blog can be a good balance of all of those things, because that's who I am.  My house isn't perfect or perfectly decorated, neither am I.  Our house is often messy and so is life.  Life can be a constant mix of ups and downs.  If you asked me what the most important thing about life is - hands down knowing Jesus would be my answer.  The beautiful thing that is through that, knowing Christ, you are able to experience those ups and downs, look at those imperfections and handle the messiness in a whole new way.  You can have satisfaction in life no matter the circumstances because you realize what true purpose is.  Loving God and loving others (community).

A new beginning is in store for this blog and I'm excited for the excitement of it.  I've got a new blog design (that I'm still tweaking), a refreshed sense of creativity and a good perspective on what is and isn't important when it comes to blogging.  So thank you to anyone who might be reading this today.  Thanks for sticking with me or joining me for the first time!  I appreciate your encouragement and community! More to come tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Easy Valentine's Projects

Here in NC we are experiencing something we don't get to experience very often - snow.  And I love it!  So while we are hunkered down, enjoying our milk and bread that we frantically ran to the store yesterday to acquire - maybe a little crafting is a good option.  Monday I shared a glimpse of some of the Valentine crafts I had been working on, today I have a bunch more.

First up, a sweet and easy fabric hoop wreath.  Hoop wreaths are my new favorite thing.  For this one I used some leftover burlap, both felt and paper to make the little bunting and some little letter embellishments.  Of course, hot glue was my friend here.  No sewing required.

If you don't have a pattern punch, I highly recommend one.  This little garland was quick and simple.
After punching out a ton of flowers from some craft paper I simply glued two together along a strand of yarn.  These little garlands are now adorning our living room shelves.  My little deer also got in the spirit and is sporting a little felt rose boutonnière.  

These pinwheels are so sweet and simple.  I loved making them and you can whip a bunch out in a very short time.  Make sure you check out this tutorial - its awesome.

Another easy and simple, no sew option for a banner is knotting strips of fabric or ribbon on a strand of yarn.  I love the simplicity of these things.

We are getting pretty vintage up in here for Valentine's day.  To pull everything together I just walked around my house and stole things here and there that I liked and thought would flow together.  Such an easy way to change up a space and plus its free.

Slowing down for a moment and making something with your own two hands is such a mind clearing activity.  The theme of Valentine's day is love and I couldn't help but think clearly about the theme of our God - which is always and forever will be = Love.  His love is the only love and what all other loves spills out from.  We love because He first loved us.  What a beautiful thing to take some time to reflect on.

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Ok, I'm off to sled down some snowy hills, make a snowman, eat some snow cream and probably check out all of my favorite blogs.  

Thanks for stopping by!