I’m not sure where this quote originally came from, but I’ve seen it lots of places. Perhaps it’s because it resonates so loudly with many. There is something deep within that wants to hide our imperfections, and yet deeper still is a longing to simply be real.
Authentic is it’s own sort of exquisite, isn’t it?
I have a beautiful glass mosaic candle holder on the shelf over our kitchen window. When I found it I just knew it would be gorgeous with a candle reflecting light from all it’s glass tiles.
In the process of moving a few years ago it took a little tumble off our bed and one side was shattered. My friend and I looked at each other and decided that packing tape would be the perfect solution. And it was.
I’m so glad we didn’t pitch it because it was no longer perfect. Because it was no longer whole. Because, some would say, it was no longer exquisite.
But that would be wrong.
It’s no longer perfect, but it is beautiful. It’s no longer whole, but it is exquisite. It’s only a decorative piece, and yet … for me, it’s a daily reminder.
It makes me smile. To know “the whole story” of this little candle holder and to so clearly see it’s beauty, usefulness, exquisiteness … this is a good reminder for one like me. It’s a good reminder that this life isn’t about perfection, wholeness or outward beauty. It’s more about brokenness, becoming whole and an inner beauty that makes others smile.
The sort of beauty that comes from the authentic.
The sort of beauty that puts others first, even in it’s imperfection.
The sort of beauty that puts them at ease, because of it’s brokenness.
The sort of beauty that allows the light to shine through to illuminate everything that is fortunate enough to be nearby.
Because in the real world, it’s the imperfections and brokenness that actually create the exquisite.
If you ever move to Lexington Kentucky there are a few things you’ll discover.
The tea is sweet.
The horse farms are gorgeous.
The people are friendly.
And the houses are really close together.
Like, way closer than any other home we’ve lived in. Maybe the people are friendly simply because they’ve learned the importance of being kind to your neighbor. Hmm, there may be something to this close house thing!
The window by our kitchen table faces our neighbors house, and we like to pretend we had the brick wall added for the charm of it all. It actually is on the second story too, so it creates a bit of privacy and coziness which I’m all about. Enough privacy in fact that we don’t even need curtains, allowing all sorts of light to flood the room and spill into the adjoining kitchen and living room.
The French doors that share a corner with the kitchen window, do however need curtains. There are blinds inside the glass of the French doors, but I’ve never been a big mini-blind person. It’s one of the first things I replace when we move into a home, preferably with curtains to flap in the breeze and add their own charm to each room.
So, what sort of window treatment will work on two spaces within feet of one another, one with and one without a curtain? Well, remember the open shelving in the laundry room that we talked about last week? As it turns out, those are not just helpful for storage. They make a pretty cool window treatment too. The only difference is that we added some L brackets to the top of these shelves in the center since we couldn’t put brackets below them.
They were easy, inexpensive and one of the things that people notice and comment about all the time. They usually hold a collection of vintage kitcheny stuff along with some vases, until Christmas that is.
At Christmas they get dressed up with greenery, some wooden cranberry garlands and white twinkle lights. Because white twinkle lights make everything cooler. Then as soon as it starts to get dark, even before dinner, those lights come on and everything is magical. Even a pot of basic spaghetti and crusty bread seem like a special meal. And as far as I’m concerned, any day you can make the ordinary special is a good day.
Just in case the Write 31 days isn’t enough of a challenge, I decided to take on another challenge today. It’s called the Autumn Home Makeover: 90 Minute Edition.
You may or may not have heard of this one, since I pretty much made it up late this morning. See, our days have been chock full of awesome these past few weeks. It has been both a blessing and that good sort of post-workout-exhausting.
In the midst of this, my version of welcoming fall around our home has consisted of pulling out our pumpkin chili recipe and slipping on the fall pillow covers. With some fun family time scheduled throughout the weekend ahead, I just decided I would pull out our collection of fall decorations this morning and limit myself to 90 minutes to create something magical.
90 minutes is not very long for me to do such a thing, but I guess I’m all about challenges this month. So, here’s what I came up with…
Is it the best fall decorating I’ve ever done? Nope.
Am I okay with it? Yep.
Because now it’s out and we get to enjoy it. And now my girls and I get to spend the evening watching my niece play volleyball.
At this point, our girl time is the priority.
So Autumn Home Makeover: 90 Minute Edition? Challenge accepted.
As far as I’m concerned, they’re one of the best ways to change the feel of a room. Especially when it’s officially mid-October and that’s the only fall decorating you’ve gotten around to!
They’re relatively small to store but can make a big impact in a room. They can range from elegant to whimsical. And they’re fairly inexpensive, especially if you know how to sew them.
If you’ve never made a pillow cover then stick around for a few minutes to see how simple it can be.
My fall pillow collection includes some slightly flecked brown fur pillows from my Mama’s fabric stash and some envelope pillows made out of upholstery fabric and salvaged linen. They are similar to the winter snow pillows you can find here with the added detail of a button.
The pieces you will need for an 18″ pillow are as follows:
19″ square of pillow front fabric (medallion in this case)
19″ x 10″ piece of pillow back fabric for bottom (linen in this case)
19″ x 14″ piece of pillow back fabric for top (linen)
Step 1: Hem one long edge of the bottom back piece (linen) with a 1/2″ double hem. To make a double hem you fold and press the raw edge under 1/2″ and do it again so the raw edge is enclosed in the hem. Stitch this 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the loose edge of the first fold being sure to catch all three layers of fabric so it doesn’t unravel.
Step 2: Hem one edge of the top back piece (linen) in a similar fashion. Fold and press under 1/2″ along one long raw edge. The second fold needs to be 2″ deep to give it a sturdier look. Hem close to the first 1/2″ fold through all three layers of fabric.
Step 3: Pin the top back to the front of the pillow, right sides together and matching raw edges. This will leave the finished edge somewhere in the middle of the pillow. Next, pin the bottom back to the other edge of the front piece, right sides together and matching raw edges. The top and bottom back pieces will be overlapping about 2″. Stitch around all four edges. Trim the seams and use a zig zag stitch to keep them from raveling.
You just finished a basic envelope pillow! Go grab yourself a cup of coffee or chocolate or snap a IG pic with some clever #s, then come right back so we can add a little embellishment.
Step 4: Adding a button to the back of the pillow. I wanted a large button, but the selection at the fabric store was a bit lame, so I wandered over to the drapery section and found a tie back with about 16 large bamboo buttons. Score! With my coupon it wasn’t much more than the single less impressive buttons. Thinking a little outside the box can really make all the difference sometimes.
The button I used is 2″ in diameter, so I cut a piece of linen 8″ x 2″ for the button loop. You may need to adjust these measurements depending on the size of your button. Fold and press the loop fabric wrong sides together the long way. Fold and press each of the long raw edges into the center and stitch close to both long edges. Your strip should measure 8″ x 1/2″.
Step 5: Stitch the loop to the inside seam of the top flap at the center as shown in the picture below
Lay your button on the pillow so it lines up with the button loop and lightly mark it with a pen or pencil. Use a piece of mid-weight interfacing when stitching on the button to keep your fabric from ripping where the button is attached.
And that’s it! Insert your pillow form and you’re set. My favorite pillow forms are down ones that I’ve picked up at thrift stores and thrown directly into my washer on hot water and then tossed in the dryer. They’re cozy and keep their shape for years compared to the typical lumpy batting variety.
You can whip up a few this weekend and finish decorating for the fall season. Or actually begin decorating as the case may be!
As usual, if you decide to make a pillow or two, include a picture in the comments. We can all use a little inspiration from time to time.
We’ve discovered a new paint technique around here that I want to share with y’all. I’ve not seen it anywhere on the internet. It’s not even on pinterest. It’s just that unique.
I’ve decided that it must be due to the fact that it takes months to perfect and loads of patience for all involved. We kind of stumbled upon it, you might say. I had painted our bedroom and bathroom about 2 years ago with a calm robin’s egg blue. I love it. But I was a little disappointed with one particular wall in the bathroom. Over time it had developed white splotches and I could not figure out how that was happening. I wiped it down and scrubbed it every time I cleaned the bathroom, but it was just odd.
I asked my hubby if he had noticed it and a friend or two who had come by for one reason or another. No one had any ideas. Then one day it dawned on me!
My sister-in-law and I have laughed about how our hubby’s sink and mirror always have more splatter marks on them than ours. We decided it’s the way these brothers thwack their toothbrush against the edge of the sink after they’ve given the brush it’s final rinse. It’s really funny to see the exact same pattern on her bathroom mirror as on mine.
And that’s what it was. Water splatters on the wall. I’ve thought about touching it up, but I haven’t as of yet. I think it’s because I know it’s a reminder for me.
See, I don’t always laugh about the messes created around our home that I find myself cleaning up. In fact, truth be told, I can find them completely irritating and overwhelming. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should feel free to make a mess and leave it for me to take care of, that’s a whole other story. But, I’m one who needs daily reminders to be thankful for the blessings in my life, even when those require a bit of work and a lot of patience.
So since my discovery of our one of a kind paint technique, I’ve taken it as an opportunity to practice grace. It may not seem like grace, but for one who likes everything neat and tidy, it definitely requires grace of me. The other option is that I have a tidy house and not get to journey through life with this crew of mine who loves me, even when I can get fritzed out over inconsequential matters.
For now, the splattered paint technique will stay, though I will continue wiping down the wall each week. And hopefully, it will help me grow in grace towards all five of the blessing living under our roof (yes, that includes the dog).
Tomorrow, we’ll look at a real painting type project. Until then, I think I’ll go ahead and add our new paint technique to pinterest. Who knows, it may just be the next big thing!
Something about a Monday morning makes me just want to organize. I suppose it’s a lot like January in that way. After we’ve cleared away the remnants of fun over the holidays (or weekend), its time to restore order.
For me, that meant grocery shopping today, and the lovey task of storing all the food when I got back home. Some days I truly wish there was a service to put all the groceries away while I sipped a warm cup of coffee. Wouldn’t that be awesome!
Remember the canned goods shelf we built for behind our laundry room door? You can see the details here if you missed that one. We had a fairly blank slate in the laundry room when we moved into our home. Small, but blank. And we were also blessed with high ceilings, which we all know helps with the small factor.
We considered adding some cabinetry from the Habitat ReStore, but the more I searched and pinned, the more I realized that what I really wanted were some open shelves. With the ceiling height, we could put in three shelves with lots of space between each one.
So, one weekend we picked up some 1 x 12 pine and nine brackets (about 10″ from the corner to the tip in both directions). I liked the basic look of the brackets with just the right amount of detail, and the fact that it was one of those weeks when Hobby Lobby had marked them at 50% off. What’s not to love about that?
The shelves were one of the easiest things we’ve done. We cut the wood to span the wall over the washer and dryer, sanded it and painted it with our white trim paint. The semi-gloss finish makes it easy to wipe down. My hubby drilled the brackets right into the studs, because he knows I have a tendency to overload shelves. Then we laid the painted boards on top and drilled those in so they were secure. That’s it.
The boxes are the sturdy kind from the auto parts store that we used when we moved. I just wrapped some old burlap coffee bags around them to make them more interesting. The brass buckets and most of the other containers were picked up at local thrift shops. There is enough room to hold extra boxes of cereal, chips and whatever needs a home each week.
A few of my favorite things in this room are one of the glass beverage drink dispensers from our daughter’s wedding and the set of Christmas cookie cutters that had been my Moms. The picnic basket on the top shelf is full to overflowing with a ton of cookie cutters that Mama also gave me over the years. And my other favorite thing is the checkered table cloth that my husband made for the table at dinner the night he proposed 25 years ago.
It’s nice to have storage for these bigger items in the laundry room. It’s even better that it’s pretty, inexpensive and has sentimental touches.
Because, laundry is inevitable – why not make the surroundings pleasant, right?
We were celebrating the Sweet Sixteen for our baby with about 20 teenagers. And everyone knows you can’t truly have a birthday celebration until you write on some walls. Obviously!
It’s one of my favorite walls in the house. It’s a skinny little wall, the depth of our cabinets, between the kitchen and eating area. About two years ago I decided to paint it with chalkboard paint. Since then it has held grocery lists, phone messages, masterpieces of kids whose parents were visiting a little too long after dinner, holiday messages and an assortment of random thoughts.
Around here, a birthday qualifies as a holiday. So, in addition to all the other silliness that went on here last weekend, we told the kids they couldn’t leave until they had colored on the walls a little bit.
A few of them looked at me like I had six heads, but hey, I was once the mom of four teenagers. I’m impervious to such looks at this stage of the game.
So it you find yourself a little bored this weekend and need a way to entertain the kids while you’re fixing dinner on those crazy weeknights, drop $10. Grab a can of chalkboard paint. Pick a wall. Paint it.
I mean, how often do you get to encourage your kids to do that thing they always thought was against the rules? You may even get a few “cool mom” points out of the deal, and who can’t use a few more of those?
Dictionary.com defines perspective as “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view”.
Considering something from a different point of view is not always an easy task. Adopting a different attitude about that same thing takes it a step further and always asks more of us.
They also define redeem as to “gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment”.
Payment may come in the form of a coupon. Or, in a perspective change that requires giving up one idea for a greater one.
Last month we had 5 house guests over the weekend for a conference our church was hosting. The only things I knew about these individuals were that they had all given of their own time and expense to travel several states to bless us. Most of them were also empty nesters or retired.
That can instill a bit of fear in the heart of a Mama with 3 teenagers still living at home. I know the condition of our home in the day-to-day, with school and sports and work and meetings and.. Each of us did our weekly chores, beds had been changed and towels were stacked. We were ready for company.
Then I walked past our guest bathroom and noticed the patch of drywall under the mirror that I never touched up. I painted that bathroom nine months age. Nine months people! And it sat there, almost done for that long. The beautiful thing was that as quickly as I noticed it, I decided that in the big scheme of things, it really didn’t matter. So I smiled and walked away to chill the last hour before we greeted our guests.
That’s huge for this type A to-do list loving girl. It was a perspective change for me – moving the painting from the to-do list to the not really a priority right now list. It allowed me to redeem the moments and prepare for our weekend mentally, instead of stressing myself and everyone else out.
The real victory came in knowing that I was not being grumpy and stressing out my family with an unimportant task that I chose to hang over my head. I’m sorry to say, this has not always been the case.
I am touching up the paint in the bathroom today. Not because my list is the boss of me, but because I already have paint out for other projects so why not take a few minutes and finish this task?
Let me also add, if you decide to write a post about the importance of perspective in redeeming moments of life – don’t accidentally delete it before you hit publish. There’s nothing like an immediate opportunity to practice what you preach!
What words do you use to describe your home decor style? Formal? French Country? Industrial Farmhouse? Contemporary? Regardless of the style I prefer, the one that best describes our home is more along the lines of Early American Garage Sale.
So many pieces in our home were handed down, along with detailed retelling of their uses and previous owners. Some have lost their stories as they were passed from one relative to the next but the memories remain. Others were picked up here and there and we are left to wonder about their heritage, or make up spectacular stories involving outlandish characters of some sort.
Take the door that sits in our entry way, for instance. She’s an old one with her five horizontal panels, her rusty knob and the dingy once-white paint with splotches of worn red peeking out from underneath. I saw her propped against the back wall at the ReStore one day. I debated for a few moments as to the wisdom of dashing to the front of the store for a cart to transport her before she caught someone else’s eye, or just plain wrangling her up to the register myself. In the end, I don’t even remember how the two of us made it, but we did. I might have been a little giddy as I headed out the door to load her up in the van for our trek home when two sweet ladies stopped to admire my new little friend. They seemed confident she was going to become a headboard, right? Or perhaps a bench? A bookcase?
Frankly, it was none of the above. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with her. I simply knew that she was worth every penny of the $10 I had just paid. They got it. These two kindred spirits. They seemed to pick up their pace a bit as they hurried into the store, chattering about my little treasure, while I headed home.
Once home, my guys greeted me with the same line of questioning, though their enthusiasm did not match that of my new-found kindred spirits. But that’s okay, they indulged me and I tried to be sweet about their lack of vision. Maybe I should have swapped numbers with my two new friends, for sheer camaraderie and encouragement when I wasn’t quite making sense to my own people.
She sat in our garage for a few weeks until it finally dawned on me that she should be live in our front entry. I had been trying to figure out how to make our foyer warm and inviting and she was the perfect solution, inexpensive and unique. So my sweet hubby helped me secure her to the wall. That Christmas she was adorned with a simple grapevine wreath and some white twinkle lights, and that has been her attire ever since. Well, mostly. Her lights have burnt out, but we’ll be fixing that soon.
I don’t know her story, but she sure is awesome and she has definitely made our entryway more welcoming. I wonder who passed through this old door of ours. What stories they would tell of what they found on the other side. I wonder if others got them, or looked at them like they were half-crazy. Or maybe, like me, they were loved because they were quite okay with being considered a little crazy for thinking outside-the-box.
This choosing to redeem is all about giving the opportunity for new life, new purpose, new beauty. Sometimes it’s best found in leaving things pretty much as they are, and admiring them for their simplicity. Our old door has become a sort of backdrop for a collection of old and new things – a bench my hubby built for me, a doily that was my Mama’s and some dusty old John Thompson piano books.
Redeeming isn’t always about all sorts of work, time or energy. Oftentimes, it’s just picking something up, dusting it off and showcasing it’s value, even if others don’t seem to get it at first glance. The joy comes in seeing the possibilities that await when we choose to open the door to redeem.
I love a good DIY. It’s the creating something out of nothing that’s just so fun!
Apparently, so does much of America, or thrift shopping, HGTV and Pinterest wouldn’t be so wildly popular these days. There’s just a deep satisfaction in creating. Even better? Bringing new life and purpose to the discarded, off-kilter or out of sorts.
Actually I love restoring. That’s the best!
It explains the exact blog links that pop up on my homescreen on my phone to greet me when I have a free moment after the chaos that is the day.
And layers of texture. Layers are my favorite!
They give dimension, context and a back story. Whether its layers of paint on an old chippy door or the assortment of textiles that accent a bag. Layers give depth and life, if you will, to a piece.
This week I’ve been stripping away layers of paint from an old dresser. A freebie that a dad had used then passed on to his son. His now 8-year old son had declared he needed something more mature, and rightly so.
They tagged it free at their yard sale, which is how it came to be in my garage, stripped of paint for my college son. It will be more mature. Soon. We hope.
I’ve also been working on a little surprise for our baby’s big birthday party. Strips of fabric remnants for a bunting that she liked from her Grandma’s house. I showed it to her yesterday afternoon and she was surprised. And thrilled. And loved that little snippets and memories of Grandma’s passion were going to be hanging right up there on her bedroom wall all year round. Well, after tonight that is, when they will be greeting her guests with the “Happy Sweet 16” sentiment.
Life’s the same way. I seem to learn in layers.
Each year there’s a new word. Some years it comes easily, others not so much. Some years, I’ve been 7 weeks in before it came to me, but I knew right away it was the one He had chosen for me. It’s always exciti-terrifying. Exciting for what I will learn and uncover. Terrifying for the journey that learning may demand. Yet with each journey comes a new layer of understanding and appreciation. Each one bringing more context, depth and beauty than the last, even with the bruises and scars.
This year’s word is fearless. I suppose that’s why for the next 31 days I’ll be fearlessly blogging about choosing to redeem. I’ll be adding links for each day’s post on this page for easy reference. Most of these will focus on a DIY project of some sort, yet in the midst of that will be the woven thread of Christ’s redemption. He has chosen to redeem our lives, our off-kilter school mornings and even our messed up musings.
It’s a journey ya’ll. There are many layers to explore. each one bringing more depth, beauty, bruises and understanding. but in the end, they all lead to purpose and new life for the tired, worn out and discarded. So grab a paint brush, needle, pen, cup of coffee and join me on this grand adventure… of choosing to redeem, won’t you?