Monday, December 13, 2010

Open wide your doors!

This Christmas, my goal was to keep it simple. I typically put up two trees, one with white lights and one with colored lights. But this year I gave myself permission to not...and it feels so good. I picked three areas to focus on, no more, no less. My front porch. Our family room Christmas tree. And my dining room table. That's it.
My front porch was inspired from a store front. The minute I saw what the store owner had put over her front doors, I knew I would do it over mine. The ribbon reads "Open wide the doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Psalm 24:7". Don't you just love there not a more perfect scripture verse in all the Bible?
The store that inspired the verse, had embroidered the ribbon that read the bible verse. Well that wasn't in my budget, so I used a gold Sharpie paint pen and it worked just fine.
And with the "King of Glory" as my theme, the crowns were added to my wreaths.
Our Christmas tree:

The only other space I decorated for Christmas was the dining room table. It is a collection of candles, plants, over-sized trumpet ornaments, and ribbon. Most of this I already had, and I just clustered it all up together and called it a centerpiece!
And finally, because these three darlings that are visiting Santa are mine, and because one of them is about to have a birthday this week, and because they are about to be out of school, and because I haven't bought the first Christmas present, Playing Sublimely is closing up shop for the rest of this year. But oh how I hope you will join me the 1st of January! Darcy has been working her magic on some renovations and we plan to be up and running with a new look by the 1st of the year. There will be a few changes in store for us around here, and I can't wait get back into writing in 2011! Merry Christmas my sweet friends, and won't you open up your doors wide and let a whole lot of Glory come in this Christmas season! There is a sweet baby in a manager that I want to draw close to these next few weeks. I adore you all and will see you in January!
Much love in Him,


Linking up with Kelly and The Nester this year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Handmade Christmas Tutorials: A "re-publish"

As we approach this gift giving time of year, I thought it relevant to "re-publish" a few of my tutorials that I think make great gifts.First are my monogrammed candles, which are probably one of my most favorite things in my house. Edie at Life in Grace (one of the coolest girls in blogger world) hosted a 12 days of Handmade Christmas, and these painted candles of mine were Day 8. Click here to read the tutorial; but more importantly, check out all the other 11 ideas for a handmade Christmas.

The other handmade gift tutorial, was featured with Gina from The Shabby Chic Cottage over at her 12 Days of a Handmade Christmas. Click here to check out that tutorial. In other news, my oldest daughter told us yesterday that her class was "brainstorming" a list of treats that their moms are especially good at making, and ones that all the children would like to have as a part of their Christmas celebration at school. She oh so descriptively told me that some kid's moms made great sugar cookies, and others said that their mom made great brownies, and so on and so on. I should interrupt this retelling to inform you that as she was painting this charming little scene for us, my husband and I both knew where it was going, and he was already practically hyperventilating from laughter anticipating the punch line. She said that when it was her turn to share, she said (and I directly quote) "I couldn't think of anything that you make that is any good, so I just said you will probably bring in Krispy Kreme doughnuts...cause that's what you always do". In her defense, she didn't mean it nearly as awful as it sounded, she was actually being quite innocent and factual about the whole thing. And besides, home girl was right, there is nothing I could ever make for a Christmas party that would ever be better than just simply picking up a dozen hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The best part was my second child quickly came to my defense, and started listing all the things I make that are really good (all lies). Then my oldest daughter got upset because she realized that she had probably hurt my feelings (which she had not) and started trying to back pedal on everything she had just confessed. I haven't laughed that hard in awhile, and I can tell you my husband has not!

There are only two weekends left before Christmas sweet friends, happy crafting! And today, I'm linking up with these two crafty girls Stacey and Gay, this tutorial was just too perfect not to.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Insanity on a Wednesday

My sister called from a store the other day to read me a sign that she was standing in line to purchase. It said "Chaos, Panic, work here is done". We laughed because it is the story of our lives. Do you ever feel like there is anything you ever really do where at the end of it you say, "well that was easy". Or is it just us? Are we the only ones that live life a little more on the "frazzled side" than the "put together side"? I do this in everything. When I paint, when I make dinner, when I write, when I drive carpool...even in bible study I tend to over analyze, over think, over struggle.

All this frazzledness leads me to painting. I've been painting a lot lately and I love it. I love painting kid's stuff, nothing fancy, nothing trained, just basic kid's room kind of art. I don't know why I love it, I just love it. I have no real reason to paint, I just so enjoy the creating part of it all. But then the time comes when I'm done with the painting. My husband always says, "so what are you going to do with it?". I always look at him with this bewildered look on my face as if that is a dumb question and say "I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with it". Is that normal? Cause I kinda think it's not. In a perfect world, I would give my art away as gifts to people, to friends. But then comes the over analyzing. What if they don't like it? Then what are they gonna do with it? I can picture them stuffing it away in a closet somewhere, and then as soon as they see me walk up the drive way, they frantically run through the house to go hang it up on a wall as if it had been there all along. Isn't that the most horrible thing you have ever heard?!? That makes my skin crawl. I couldn't do that to people. They are innocent of course, they didn't ask me to paint anything for them. So instead I just stack them in a corner of my house and let them collect dust. Which is okay because the only reason I paint is because I enjoy it so much. But then the voice of reason starts saying, "this really is too time consuming of a hobbie for you to just stack paintings in the corner, there is just really no point". So then I do the practical thing and go through a period of time where I put my paints and brushes away, close the door to my craft room, and I paint nothing. But here is the problem...I really want to go back in that room and paint some more. Do you think I should check myself in somewhere? Do you wish you hadn't just spent the last three minutes reading this post? I so like all you blogger friends of mine on the other side of this monitor that keep coming back :).


Monday, December 6, 2010

Just one more

It's Thomas' most used sign language: "just one more". One more M&M, one more book before nap time, one more sip of my coke. And because I am his mother, I delight in giving it to him. I love to watch him as I hand him that one more of whatever it is he is requesting, he usually squeals and runs in place with excitement, grinning from ear to ear. The most amusing part of the game is that we both know that he really doesn't mean it. I play the game with him because it's so stinkin' cute, but I know full well that as he agrees to only needing one more, he's gonna change his mind and think to himself "well maybe just one more after that".

In the midst of our ritual the other day, I started wondering if I do the same thing with God. Do I say and ask and pray too often for just one more? Just one more answer Lord. Just one more blessing Lord. Just one more victory Lord. Now before anyone thinks that I am for one moment implying that our God does not delight in blessing His children, that He is not faithful to always redeem His children, that He does not always hear and answer the prayers of His children, let me clarify. The Lord says in Malachi 3:10, "Test me in this, and see if I do not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it". God loves and is willing to pour out blessing; but I just wonder if He sometimes wonders when I am gonna notice the blessings that He has already given. Maybe He is thinking, "oh I can I pour out more blessing, but I'd kinda like for you to rest in the blessing that I gave you yesterday". Does that make sense, or I am delusional on this one? I do not have the slightest idea why that came to me the other day as my little man was asking me for one more, but it did. Maybe I just needed a Holy Spirit reminder that one more M&M might not be what my soul really needs. Maybe one more sip of coke is just one sip too many. And maybe my weary soul would do well to just be still and know that He is God, that He himself is enough, and I might just not need one more of anything after all. Just a thought...


Thursday, December 2, 2010

A new world for me: cabinet and furniture finishes

I've been at big girl "camp" this week, hanging out at Faux Works doing the thing I love to do, but never have time to do. But this time I have been playing on cabinets and not walls. I met some great decorative artisans from all over the world (everybody wants to train with Barb). It is so exciting for someone like me who just does this stuff because I think it's cool, to hang around people like them. I have always been too overwhelmed to venture into the world of fine cabinetry and furniture finishes. Walls were all I could wrap my brain around, and even that was a lot to handle. But I have finally decided to stop thinking too much with all this stuff, and so I just registered to take the class...and now I wish I hadn't waited so long. Barb Skivington, in all her awesomeness, put together a basics cabinet finishes class for all us first timers in the world of wood surfaces and it was anything but basic. These finishes are Habersham, Woodland quality finishes (actually, they are even better). They feel as good as they look. I wish you could see how excited I get when I finally start grasping how these surfaces are created, it's like "ohhhhhhhhh, now I get it". Just thrilling for me! All the below photographs are courtesy of Faux Works website and Barb Skivington's masterful work. And yes, now I can do that! Oh how I love this stuff!


Monday, November 29, 2010

You have to go, if you want to see it

Sometimes the things you have to do are the tough things, the things that force you out of the comfort of where you are. Sometimes the thing that you are being asked to do, makes you start to wonder if you are really being asked to do it at all. Sometimes that thing, is the same thing that leaves you thinking for sure, "this can't be the right thing, I must have heard this wrong". Ever been there? I'm there right now.

And then my sister called who is wiser than I am and said, "remember Lazarus, go back and recall what was happening with Jesus right before He raised Lazarus from the dead". And so I did. And now I wonder if you have ever noticed the same treasure. To fully appreciate the gift, you have to start back several chapters before Lazarus is raised from the dead in Chapter 11. Jesus is in Judea where He heals a blind man in Chapter 9. The religious leaders were getting fired up by all the controversy that Jesus was creating, and before the culmination of their hatred takes place on the cross, they sought to stone Him in the temple for His profession that "I and the Father are one" John 10:30. That is where they were with Jesus, ready to kill Him. And the last we hear in Chapter 10 is that Jesus "escaped their grasp" in verse 39, and left Judea crossing over the Jordan River.

Chapter 11 picks up with us learning that Mary and Martha have sent word to Jesus that "the one you love is sick" (speaking of their brother Lazarus). I love that description, "the one you love". It is such a clear reflection of Jesus' heart for us. The truth was, Jesus loved that whole family, and He was about to allow them to be a part of what I think is possibly the most significant event in His ministry, preceding the cross.

Naturally, the disciples were not excited about going back to Judea. They were there when the Pharisees surrounded Jesus with stones in their hands. But buried between Jesus telling His disciples He wanted to return to Judea to see Lazarus, and Jesus actually raising Lazarus from the dead, is the part I had not noticed until my sister pointed it out. Thomas says one simple statement, that actually says a lot about the state of all the disciples at that moment, and can possibly speak a lot to you and I today, if we would allow it. Thomas tells the rest of the disciples (that were afraid to return to Judea because they might be killed) "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" John 11:16. Did Thomas understand at all why Jesus was going back to Judea? No. Did the plan make any sense whatsoever to him? Nope. And yet he was faithful and obedient and trusted the One that said, "Let us go back to Judea".

How about you? Do you have a "Judea" that the Lord is calling you to? Does your Judea look anything like Thomas'? Are you asking God things like "Seriously? This cannot be what you want. This doesn't make any sense. This cannot be Your plan!". Don't you think the disciples were downtrodden as they made their way back to Judea, anticipating death. Obedient yes, but confused nonetheless. And don't you think the Lord had a smile on His face as He crossed back over that Jordan River knowing what His men were about to witness. And oh what they saw that day. They got to hear Jesus say "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whosoever lives and believes in me will never die". They got to see their God walk up to a cave and say "Take away the stone". And they got to witness the power of God when He said "Lazarus, come out!"...and they got to see the dead man obey.

Can you imagine how the disciples would have felt if they had missed that? What if they had not gone to Judea because they were afraid? Would Jesus not have performed the miracle? Of course He would have, but His men would have missed the blessing of witnessing it. I don't want to miss the blessing. I don't want to not go to Judea just because I am afraid. God has a stone that He wants to roll away in your presence my friend, but you have to follow Him to "Judea" in order to see it. Rolling away stones is His don't want to miss it.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The One within the pages

I wasn't kidding last week when I told you I was struggling. Oh how serious I was being with you...and I'm still struggling. My Mom called last week and said "I can tell you are about to lose it". She is a few hundred miles away, but she can still tell when her daughter is about to come undone. But there is something surprisingly therapeutic about writing (especially when you feel called to it), and I always feel a little less crazy after expressing my feelings here. Even more so when I hear back from someone that says they are in the exact same place. It's not a "misery loves company" kind of comfort, so much as it is a "you have a friend next to you treading water" kind of comfort. There is hope in that. There is comfort in not feeling like the only one. My girl Jill (that I have grown to adore through this world of blogging), wrote to me in response to my disturbing admission that I sometimes consider putting down my dog and said "if it makes you feel any better, almost daily I consider having my dog put to sleep and then strategically laying her in the road like she got hit by a car. You are not alone" . I laughed every time I thought of that the rest of the day. Tell me you do not love her! Her dog recently brought her the leg of a deer, and then she had to play tug of war with him to get it out of the his mouth. Now that is a woman who deserves to wrestle with thoughts of wanting to put her dog to sleep for bad behavior.

This comfort of "there is someone right next to you treading water", is what I love about the Word of God. There isn't a feeling that I am experiencing that cannot be ministered to somewhere within those pages. From start to finish, that Book is packed full of comfort and encouragement. I have been telling you in recent weeks that I am currently studying both the lives of Moses and Esther. I always fall in love with the characters that I am studying in the Word. The first time this happened to me was when I was studying Abraham. I went into that particular study, dreading it a little (because how exciting could Genesis really be), and I came out on the other side of the study unable to get enough of it. At that particular season of my life, I could so identify with the struggles in that first book; and at this particular season of my life, I can so very much identify with Esther and Moses.

And what I find time after time is that at the root of it all, when you trace the source of the comfort back to it's origin, I always find that the One in which I am actually identifying with, is the One that wrote the story. It's not necessarily Moses' screw up, and his fleeing Egypt that I find comfort in; but rather the One that He met when he finally collapsed in the desert at The Well (Exodus 2:15). It's not Esther's great dilemma that encourages my heart to trust, but rather the One that was in the heavenlies orchestrating the entire course of events above her. His Name is the One that brings the comfort through struggles. It's the way He faithfully ministers to the ones within the pages that illustrates His character, and begs me to come and rest, and to trust that time is in His hands.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some days...

Some days I feel my blood pressure moving in a direction that is not healthy. In the midst of the everyday, the pouring coffee, the waking up sleepy children, the carpooling, the doing homework, the making dinner, the fall leaves changing colors...I feel my heart beginning to race. Some days I feel as though keeping my head above water is all I can do, and then I hate that about myself because I didn't even do that well. And then I think how pathetic it is that I cannot even keep my head above water, when there are other people in the world that are living in orphanages in Africa, that care for hundreds of children everyday, and probably do not yell nearly as much as I do. Some days I just wonder how I got to such a fragile place in life that when the Starbucks guy tells me they are out of pumpkin spice latte syrup, and that they will not get in anymore this year, that I walk away crying. Yes crying. Or I wonder how I got into such a place in life that for a brief moment I thought that if our dog knocked my son over one more time, the only reasonable solution would be to put him to sleep. I am being dead serious with you. Some days I even surprise myself with the levels of insanity I am capable of reaching.

Some days the small, little everyday changes of life are too much for me to handle. I find myself obsessively watching the leaves falling from the trees, sad because I know they will soon be bare and lifeless. There's no joy in that. There is no joy in behaving like the miser Scrooge counting his stacks of coins on his desk, and I do that too often. I may not be counting coins, but I do count the years. If a miser is someone who hoards money, then I suppose you could call me a hoarder of time. I watch my 5 year old walk into school with her backpack on and I sometimes cannot even get out of the parking lot before I am sobbing. Or there are those nights when I place my son in his crib that he is soon to outgrow, and I think to myself why is everything changing so quickly! Stop changing!

But then I wonder if that is all part of the plan. If all this changing is supposed to force us to find the One that will never change. The One that has remained the same from the beginning, and will still be the same in the end. I wonder if we were created to need something or Someone that never changes, and then intentionally placed in a world that always changes, so that we will never stop seeking and grasping for The Rock of which to place our feet firmly on...The One that promises to never change.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Anthropologie for Kids and Headband Love

When I have too much to do, and I start getting overwhelmed by life, I sew. For some reason it seems therapeutic to me, but I think it is really just a glorified method of procrastination. It drives my husband insane! So since I have been busy recently, I have also been sewing. And since I love Anthropologie, and since I love making my kid's clothes, I kind of combined the two for a a few kid friendly Anthro looks. I'm weird.

OK, so this one doesn't have any Anthropologie inspiration, I just kind of winged it. It might be my favorite though.
And in other news: have you been noticing those fantastic headbands in my girl's hair? I just so happen to know the very talented and cutest Texas girl walking the planet that makes those headbands. Her name is Samantha (aka: The Crafty Texas Girl) and she makes "ridiculously cute" gifts for children. My girls are "headband kind of girls", so I had her whip up a few for them and oh my goodness are they great! Aside from how cute they are, I have to say that the best thing about them is how well they fit the girl's heads, not too tight, not too loose. These make great gifts and are my most favorite accessory for the girls!

Click here to go say hi to Samantha. You know you have some Christmas gifts to buy!


Monday, November 15, 2010

My master bedroom: A before and after

We haven't been house touring in awhile; partially because my attention span is so short, and partially because my house is never clean and orderly enough to photograph. But my master bedroom remodel is finally complete, so I forced all the humans that live in my house out of the room for 10 minutes and I took pictures. And though it is already messed up again, and clothes are once again piled on the floor, she is still a lovely room.

Here was the before:
My cute carpenter and I gutted the previous master bedroom, office, and master bathroom, to create the our new space:
The walls are my most favorite decorative finish that I have done in this house. They are subtle and soothing, it is a great look for a master bedroom.

Do you like the way I am "storing" all my fake jewels? My husband says it's weird. It certainly isn't conventional, but it adds color and a bit of bling to the room, and that makes me happy.
Another mention: My "set" of bedroom furniture was boring me. A little too matchy matchy for what I wanted, but replacing a perfectly functional bedroom set is of course not practical. So since new furniture was not an option, I instead just changed out my end tables for antiques, and all my matching mirrors were switched out for unique consignment store finds that I painted. A much more affordable and reasonable alternative indeed. This mirror was originally green, but I changed her look by painting her ivory and gold, then I aged her a bit by sanding. It is my favorite piece in the room.
My chairs...oh the love for my chairs.
Another painted antique mirror.
Some details:

This picture is of my husband pouring table wine while at a street cafe in Montmartre, France. It will always be one of my favorite photographs.
And because I love before and afters, I'm linking up with Cheri, and also Roeshel today over at The DIY Showoff .