Friday, April 11, 2014

Painted Hutch

We drove by a garage sale the other day and I said, "Ooo! That's an awesome wood table!"

And Erik said, "You only like it 'cause it's furniture. You wouldn't care if it was a table or a chair as long as it was furniture."


I love furniture.

I noticed this hutch at Cart'm (I also love Cart'm) months ago.  They had it marked at $50.

 Sorry, I'll pass.
Came back a few months later. What? Still there? And only $20? And I have personal spending money in my wallet at this exact moment?
It was meant to be.
So I bought it and brought it home.
I smiled and batted my eyelashes and Erik helped me carry it upstairs into the garage where I cleaned and sanded it.
It was lovely but it didn't smell lovely. Thank goodness for primer.

 Now for some color!

My inspiration is not some magazine spread or pinterest post (though I know I've seen a lot of this color painted furniture lately) but this dress:

 This is my Sophomore prom dress (modeled most gladly by my girls).  I went to a small school, everyone got to go to prom. I found this at a vintage store and my mom added straps.  Alas you do not get to see me in it because I own maybe one picture of me in it and I can't find that picture. It's not a very flattering picture either, it's a getting ready shot and my face is still beet red from running to my Grandma Dorothy's apartment to take a shower after playing in a tennis match.  And no formal pictures either, due to miscommunications with the limo company and a great time in Seattle we only made it to the last half hour of the dance and they were already done taking pictures at that time. If you're curious I went with my friend David (Dah-veed, he was from Mexico) and we went with three other couples; half of each couple was an exchange student and we had a great time.

Rabbit trail. Sorry.

Here's the cabinet painted (though not metallic it's a lovely light tealish/bordering on seafoam green color):

Here it is in my kitchen. It fits perfectly on the wall between the end of the cabinets and the window (like it was meant to be there!)
Yeah, don't mind the mess on the floor or the over-ripe bananas in the basket. I'm just being real with ya'll. It's not expertly styled and I'm still in the process of deciding what belongs on the shelves but if I waited for that it would be a while.  It's definitely being put to good use and I really love this new addition to my kitchen.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Window Seat and Bookshelves

I've been "project-ing" like crazy the last little while, so I'm just warning you that the next few blogs will be playing catch up.

I did get my window seat, bookshelf project complete! It was actually finished before the bed frame I just posted about.

A long time I ago, I posted this hopeful drawing:
For my birthday last year I asked for the materials to build it.  It kind of reminds me of making my own birthday cake in high school only now I'm making my own presents.

So I cut and I routed for adjustable shelf standards. And I primed and I painted and you get pictures of none of this because I was not thinking of blogging and I built the main boxes and put them in place and attached them to the walls.
Our living room was chaos for awhile.

Who am I kidding? We have five kids, our living room is usually chaos.

Gratuitous cute baby shot.
Then I started on the window seat:

 I trimmed and caulked everything: 

And painted and filled it with stuff:

The kiddos have decided it makes the perfect stage.
The window seat is all storage and holds many quilts, toys and games.
The tv shelf is on drawer slides and slides out and the tv swivels.
We don't watch much tv so it's nice to be able to shove it slightly out of view.
I'm really excited about the details as well.  All the shelves are adjustable. The dividers along the shelf above the window match up with the window casings, as does the trim on the window seat. The trim on the window seat also mimics the shaker design of our kitchen cabinets that are visible across the house.

And then there are the curtains!
This is what happens when I try to take pictures around here.

 My mom found these at a thrift store and gifted them to me and Erik helped me build the curtain rod I designed out of galvanized pipe. The curtains hang on the inside of the bookcases when open so they don't block as much light from the window.

When family comes it makes an extra place for someone to sleep; my sisters have been known to fight over who gets to sleep there.
It's one of my favorite places to drink a cup of tea and read a book or take a nap in the afternoon sun.
You know, when I ever get that luxury and whenever we have sun.  It's happened once or twice believe it or not!
When we first moved in, it looked like this:

And this morning, it looks like this:
I assure you, it is the same house, but we've definitely made some changes over the last eight years.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

New Bed (Again)

I have been attempting to build things for as long as I can remember. Somewhere about the 4-5th grade my neighbor Diane and I built our own playhouse from scraps of lumber her dad brought home from his construction jobs. Alas, I have no pictures of our mansion but I'm assuming it looked a lot like this:

These would be my own kids occupying our front yard. 

Like I said, I have been attempting to build things for years but now I finally feel like I might be getting good at this. 

Erik received his "fire check" at the end of November and let me have a little bit of it for my very own spending money.  I did a little calculating and decided that I could make a dining room table or a headboard/footboard for our bed but I couldn't do both. 

I went with the bed.

I took these basic plans from AnaWhite, modified them for my bed, room and previously built storage frame; bought my lumber and got to work. 

I used basic pine and standard lumber and sanded everything like crazy. My dad helped hold things together so I could glue and nail the pieces and helped with some drilling and attaching of the 4x4 legs.

Then I applied a wood conditioner/pre-stain and then stained the bed. 

I let it dry for a few days in our upstairs (we almost have an upstairs house!) and then let it finish drying in the kitchen before I moved it to our room and set everything up. 

Want to see the finished bed? 

Isn't it lovely?! 
I'm pretty stinkin' proud of this project.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Button, Button, Who's Got The Button?

Hannah pined after and received a Josefina "mini-doll" for Christmas. If you are unfamiliar with Josefina, she is an American Girl doll, (not one of the originals but at least not one of the "dolls of the year". Don't get me started.) only instead of being 18" tall, she is only about 6". Much more affordable.


Hannah also received a book on making your own miniature furniture for said dolls and she has been pouring over the pages and raiding the recycle bin to craft and create beds, desks, lamps, tables, food and the like. She's gone through at least 100 sticks of hot glue and many of her creations are really clever.

And with this I'm learning to live with an open hand.  Over the years I have been given and collected many random craft items. In the past year alone 4 different women cleaning out their craft/sewing supplies have gifted me tubs of fabric and random baubles. And yet, that is where I hoard.

When Hannah started she came to me asking for buttons from the mason jar o'buttons. I said no.

Then I started thinking, "How often do I actually use these buttons? I hate sewing on buttons. What purpose do they serve sitting in a jar on the shelf? Am I afraid of not having enough buttons? And more importantly, what does this teach my daughter about sharing with an open hand all that we've been given? I want her also to know that her creations and her creativity is important and I want to encourage it."

So when she came to me again and asked if she could please have a button, I said, "Sure."

When she came to me for another and another button, I said, "Sure."

Last week at the Ladies' Sewing Circle I attend every Monday night a lady said, "Someone gave me a large tin of buttons and asked if I knew anyone that needed them. I thought of you. Could you use more buttons?"

I laughed and said, "Sure."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jasper Charles Dante

 Note: Found this in my drafts, never published. He may be over a year old but here is the beginning of Jasper's story.

Jasper Charles Dante is here!

He was born Monday, October 1, 2012 at 7:21pm. 9lbs 12 oz and 22 inches long - he is a sweet, healthy, "little" boy. We are so very blessed and my heart is continually praising the Lord.

But you see, I feel like I need to be honest here with what God has been doing in my heart. I had been living with and struggling with an anxiousness in my heart that something would go wrong this time, or our baby wouldn't be healthy. A nagging fear that God would ask hard things of me that I couldn't handle. We have 4 healthy children- are we "pushing our luck" in asking for a 5th? But it is not luck, there are no odds, there is only God.  For God created Jasper's inmost being and knit him together in my womb - he is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14)  And no matter if Jasper is healthy or has all his toes or not (he is! he does!); he is a precious creation of God's and God is good.

The 3 year break between Marilyn and Jasper has given me a breathing space to step back and "come out of a fog", so to speak. I feel more aware of the everyday happenings and not so caught up in and by them. But I've also become more aware of the problems, the things that can go wrong. Aware of food allergies and toxic loads and sickness and disease and often feel hounded by thoughts of "am I doing enough to ensure good health for my children". And these thoughts make me anxious and fearful.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24

I cannot ensure good health, I can help but ultimately it is to God that my children belong and get their very breath. I rejoicing only now? Now that I've given birth to a healthy baby boy in a beautiful home birth that was relatively easy?

No. I have been at peace for a while now, resting in the peace of God promised me:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (emphasis mine)

Even before Jasper was born I was resting in that peace, giving thanks, no matter the outcome. My one and only tattoo references Psalm 104:33:
"I will sing to the Lord all my life, I will sing praise to my God as long as I live."

Contingent upon no circumstance, I will praise my God.

Ah- but you came for a birth story, didn't you?

Sunday, September 30 we went for a 2-3 mile walk/hike with the kids and I had pretty strong contractions but nothing I had to stop for. Erik wanted to keep on walking but I had my heart set on an October baby so we came home and had dinner and went to bed. Contractions lasted until 1am but I got some good sleep anyway. Monday morning I decided not to start schoolwork with the kids but instead to clean the house to see if we could get the contractions going again.

That helped and contractions came with a definite downward pressure, helping reassure me that yes, this indeed was the time. (You'd think this being the 5th time I'd have some idea!) I called my midwives to let them know.

Erik wondered if he should just stay home from work after lunch but decided to head back in to finish up the job he was working on. When he was done with that he came home and started setting up the birthing tub. The kids got excited and started asking "Are we going to have a baby today?!"

I called my midwives again and they came. I texted my sisters (who were living and working in Cannon Beach); Mindy took a personal day at work and came down to help corral kids and Bethany came down when she got off work. Erik's boss' wife brought over dinner.

The afternoon passed with much talk, laughter, reading about placentas and regular contractions. Oh and a fan blowing cool air, it's been unusually warm around here.

Towards evening I climbed into the birthing tub to help with relaxation between contractions. Oh how I love the birthing tub!

My water soon broke and surrounded by Erik, my sisters, my wonderful midwives and all the other kiddos, Jasper Charles Dante was born at 7:20pm  7:21pm. Ivan was quick to pipe up: "Actually it was 7:21" when the time was announced.

My mom made it an hour later, after stopping at Dairy Queen for a celebratory ice cream when Bethany called her with the news.

The kids helped take down the tub.

Bethany and Mindy went home, genuinely thrilled to have been able to be there for the birth.

Erik's parents came and took the 4 older kids to their house for a few days and Jasper and I spent quite a few days in bed resting.  It is so wonderful to have this amount of support and help.

My mom left the following Monday. Erik took a few hours off here and there during the week to help out and the kids enjoyed the extra movie watching. The generous ladies of our church provided evening meals for the week as well.

We are quite taken with our new little man.

"Jasper made a face like this!"

Oh Jasper, you precious gem. May you grow to be a man of God, who shares and upholds the foundations of God's word as we look forward to the coming of God's holy city, who's walls are as Jasper (Revelation 21:18-19). May your decisions and direction be pleasing to God and may you serve before him. (Exodus 28:15-30)

To God be the glory- great things He has done.  Amen.

Time sure flies when you're having fun: 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

All The Things

I've been away so long that I really want to update you on all the things.

Let me that will take too long, let me sum up.

I've been doing other things instead of blogging.

There you have it.

And I have nothing of real great importance to share, but must it all be of great importance to warrant a few words or a picture? (I'm not promising a picture)

I've started to miss the practice of being forced to share in complete sentences, or nearly complete sentences, what's going on around here and what I've been up to. So here is my attempt to start once again sharing things.

Maybe not all the things, but some.

Visiting my home lately you wouldn't guess that I've been reading books, blogs and articles on minimalism, but I have. Not so much minimalism as in stark, sterile, own nothing, minimalism but rather an intentional owning and possessing of stuff. I've been clearing out corners and closets and cupboards all in the quest to not have stuff define my days. It's a process and I'm fully enjoying learning to use what I have and to get rid of what just takes up space. I've also been devising and constructing things to better make use of our home and the stuff we do want to keep around and store and use.

Erik jokes that "when we moved into our home it was completely finished and it hasn't been since."

I lovingly remind him that when we moved into our home we had one child and one on the way. We now have 5 and our house has not adapted to work with us.

We are in the process of catching our house up to speed.

This includes a garage addition with living space above. It includes the window seat and bookshelves that I alluded to just a few posts ago in blogland but which in reality was quite a few months. And that post, which was about our "new bed", is no longer accurate. I've been building again.

I may have been gone for awhile but I hope that somewhere "you" are waiting now to see what we have done, what we are doing and what, God willing, we plan for the future.

See you soon!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kitchen Built-in

A few weeks ago on Facebook I mentioned that I was cutting a hole in the wall. This wall to be precise:

I've admired shelves/built-ins that are built between the studs in a wall for a really long time and I've always wanted to attempt it, I just wasn't sure where.  This wall in my kitchen has driven me nuts since we moved in. There's a heating vent on the floor as well as a light switch there in the middle. See that baker's rack back there? That was my latest attempt at using the space but it cut down the walking space. This is the main thoroughfare to the laundry room and the door that will soon lead to the garage, so walking space is important.

 So I cut the hole. Cut through the dry wall on both sides of the wall above the furnace so my shelves could go just a little deeper. Oh and I had to remove a stud and move the outlet and the light switch. Erik re-wired the light switch for me. I probably could have figured it out but I really didn't want to. I've got a great husband.
 Then I built these "bins" based on this tutorial at
 Finally, yesterday I built the shelves and finished up the trim this afternoon.  Now I just have to decide if I need to paint it.  I almost want to paint the trim white to match the rest of the trim in the house, but I also like how the wood kind of matches my kitchen cabinets.

Any finishing suggestions?