Thursday, 9 October 2014

Loving THIS Nest



I wrote this mid-August (with my phone, using one thumb).  I've since dealt with my mountain of junk in the laundry room (thanks to my husband's gentle prodding), and the kitchen has been reorganised and decluttered. The closet full of baby clothes is still waiting.  I'll have to stock up on podcasts and tackle it.



*****

I've been in a slump lately. Maybe for the past two years. I've been mired in discontentment and envy and maybe even bitterness.


I've forgotten that when I do things for my house, I love it more.
I've forgotten to take the time to do things for myself.
I've forgotten to take pleasure in beautifying my surroundings and instead focused on all the work that was staring me down.  That I just kept putting off because it was so overwhelming.

I never felt like I was caught up on the housework. Even when the house was clean, those nagging bits of remaining chaos disturbed me. The unused junk hiding in the kitchen cupboards, the seriously scary laundry room (that's not Mount Washmore...that's the beginning of Hoarders Peak!), and the closet still crammed with baby stuff and my baby is five years old.

I have just realized that maybe home decor isn't a luxury item in the budget. Maybe it is a necessity. Even birds put thought and care into their homes, as temporary as they are. They don't skimp on this year's nest, saving what they really want for the next one.  That's what I've been doing. I've been focusing on all the ways this duplex of ours is flawed, rather than on its beauty spots, or ways to improve it.

Slowly, I have been starting to put care into my home again. I was trying to be frugal and so I stopped finding this homes potential. But my sell-the-excess-so-I-can-get-what-I-really-want plan has made me realize that I can make this house beautiful. It can feel finished. And I now have a few dollars of leeway. I can buy that perfect thing that is exactly what I needed instead of hemming and hawing over whether I can really justify it and I could probably make something like that and what would Kevin say?

I recently bought some of those tie-on cushions for our kitchen chairs. I wasn't going to, because the were $13 each and I needed four and that's over $50... But then I remembered that I could use my stash, and my living room rug had cost less than half of what I planned for. So I bought them guiltlessly. Along with a couple of other things.

My rug makes me smile every time I look at it. My kitchen chairs, which were slightly too low for the table are now just right, and the annoying paper towel roll is now securely mounted in a cupboard and off the counter.

So, do you love this year's nest?  Or are you waiting for the next one?


Monday, 6 October 2014

A Season of Quiet



I was going to send my resume to a new publishing house here in town. But I didn't.

I was going to join The Nester with an October 31-day series. But I didn't.

I was going to have the first draft of a novel written by now. But I don't.

Instead, I find I'm desperately in need of a season (or two) of quiet. I've always been a something-and. A mom-and-writer-and-editor, etc. and although I haven't actively consulted God about it, I feel he's nudging me to strip away any extras.

I've never allowed myself to just be the simplest version of me. I'm always adding things to my life, and not juggling them very well at all. I've already cleared my life of most extra activities and commitments, but I find I haven't yet cleared my head (and I still have a couple of commitments that I can't wait to be finished with). I still want to be that famous novelist or busy editor or viral blogger. But why? I need to take a step back from even these possibly-God-given desires and rest. So that's what I'm planning to do.

I want to be just a mom.

Just a wife.

Just a homemaker

Just a friend.

Just for awhile.

I need to figure out the basic tenets of who I am supposed to be and what I want out of life. Then maybe I will know exactly which book I need to write. Maybe I'll be able to eke out some kind of household routine and start enjoying my home and being hospitable. Maybe. But even if none of that happens, maybe I just need to be still and know. I will continue blogging as I feel led, so y'all get to come along on my journey to stillness.




Thursday, 2 October 2014

Vintage Wooden Sign Tutorial


One of my dear friends had her second baby boy last week.  Since I made a sign for his big brother, I figured baby Riley needed one too!  I absolutely love how this one turned out!  And it didn't require purchasing anything at all...not even paint.  I had everything I needed, right down to the lemon ("Lemon?" you ask. Read on!) This is how I made it.

Step 1: Obtain a piece of raw wood.  In my case, it was an oval plaque that I think my mom gave me 12 years ago. Or something like that.

Step 2: Paint.  I used homemade milk paint (that's where the lemon comes in).  Let the paint dry.  No need to let it cure for two years like I did.

Step 3: Create your text on Pic Monkey or something similar and print it in an appropriate size.  Mine looked like this:
And ended up the perfect size for my little oval.

Step 4: Scribble on the back of the paper with a pencil. Lay the sheet pencil-side-down on your wood piece, then trace each letter with a pen.

Step 5: Outline and fill in the letters with a black sharpie.

Step 6: Rub on a coat of homemade furniture wax.  I did this before antiquing, because the milk paint is completely water soluable and would have been ruined.

Step 7: After a suitable amount of time (5 minutes in my case...I was running short on time), buff off the excess wax.

Step 8: Mix some brown paint with water to make a glaze, paint it on your piece, and rub off immediately.  I just used the same cloth I buffed the wax with.  To get a bit more of the stain off, and wear the letters down a bit, I dampened a corner of the cloth.

Step 9: Staple a ribbon on the back or otherwise attach a hanging device.



Monday, 22 September 2014

Podcasts and Productivity



I'm sure I've written here about a dozen different schemes I've tried to get a handle on my housekeeping.  That is one of my biggest struggles.  I don't enjoy cleaning my house, plus I didn't have a Martha-Stewart-esque example growing up, so I'm often oblivious to the dust piling up or the hot spots of clutter or the gross smudges of who-knows-what on the walls until right before we have someone over.

And having people over is happening less and less frequently.  But, quite accidentally, I may have discovered something that could help motivate me to get stuff done.

Podcasts!

Listening to something interesting gives my brain something to do as I'm scrubbing the bathroom or folding laundry.  And it's something that doesn't involve my eyes.  Have you ever noticed that folding laundry in front of the TV makes the task take three times longer?  I use a running armband while I listen, which keeps the phone secure and out of the way.

The two I've been listening to are The Art of Simple, and Sexy Marriage Radio.  And I'm looking for more shows, so feel free to post your favourites in the comments.

Unfortunately, my new-to-me iPhone 3 can't get any more iOS updates so I can't use iTunes' Podcasts app, and haven't yet found another free app that lets me manage podcasts.  So I've been listening on Safari.  Which mostly works fine.  When I'm ready to move on from this phone though, I'm pretty sure I'm switching to an Android phone.  Apple products are all too expensive, and they purposely make things outdated too quickly.  My iPod is only 2 years old and I can't get any new apps on it because of the iOS.

Ok, sorry for the rabbit trail there . . .

What podcasts do you listen to?  And what do you do while you're listening?

PS: Thanks to my friend Chelsey for letting me know about Canva, which is where I created the graphic for this post . . . too much fun!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Articles

A few people have asked to read the articles and columns I've written for FellowScript magazine.  Here are a couple of them.  I'll post the August column once the November issue comes out.  And maybe one of my other articles too.  Click on the image to zoom.  And if you have any ideas that I could write about for upcoming columns, let me know!