Friday, December 9, 2011

Lessons from A to Z ~ Buckled Up & Ready To Go

Buckled up and ready for a fun journey!
        Just recently, we have become a one-car family.  Which on the plus side means we get to spend more time together as a family!  One of the things we find ourselves doing more together is running errands or picking up Chad from work.
       Often times, Abby and Zoe don’t know exactly where we’re going, what we’re doing, or how long it will take.  I just say, “OK, get your coats and get buckled up, so we can go!”  They are so good at doing their job, sometimes I’m the last one out to the car.  What a sweet sight to see them strapped in and ready to go!

       Do you ever feel like you’re on a ride with God?  I do!  He’s in the driver’s seat (which is where I like Him!), but I have NO IDEA where we’re going.  I want to ask God things like, “Where are you taking us?” “What am I supposed to do?” “Why can’t I just stay where I am?” or “How long will this take?”  As His child, He has things he wants me to do and places He wants me to go. But He doesn’t always give me any more information than, “Let’s go.” 

       Our journey in pursuing Foster-Adoption is very much like this.  We know God has some things He wants us to do—sharing our hearts, home, and space in our family with a little one (or two!).  I don’t know how long this will take, or where we’ll end up.  But I don’t need to know.  God has just asked me to get ready, buckle up and prepare for a ride!

       So I take an example from my daughters:  Be quick to do my part, get ready and strap in for the ride.  God’s got some business to do and I’m going to do my best to enjoy the journey.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
Since you cannot do this very little thing,
why do you worry about the rest?

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning... 

Luke 12: 26, 32

Friday, November 18, 2011

Adventures in Foster Parenting

Our family will be adding more "pictures" to our wall - through fostering!
As some of you know, we recently were certified as foster parents and have been receiving calls about various children.  Well, after much prayer we have said yes to fostering two little brothers - ages 2 1/2 years and 9 months old.  You may be surprised (TWO kids!? and so young!?) - we are a little surprised too!  But God has been moving our whole family through this process and we feel peaceful about this decision. 

Details are still being worked out. Its not neat and clean, but we're hoping to receive them early next week.  Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday! 

Please be praying with us - that God's best design would be carried out, and His strength and peace would cover us all.  Pray for our daughters, who are so excited but realistically have no idea how this will rock their little world.  And pray for Chad & I as parents - who also have no idea how this will rock our world as we revisit the baby & toddler stages!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Psalms 3:3-5

It seems like lately we have been surrounded by friends and family going through heart-breakingly difficult times in their life.  Whether its health related, family related, or job related - they are facing life changing challenges.  My heart breaks for them and I often feel at a loss for words I can give to comfort them.  Thankfully, God hears the groaning of our hearts and comfort can be found in His Word.  So, I've offered this verse to a few dear friends lately and wanted to share it with you.  It may bring you or someone you know comfort and encouragement.

Psalms 3:3-5
 3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
   my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the LORD,
   and he answers me from his holy mountain.
 5 I lie down and sleep;
   I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Coffee Filter Poof Tutorial

As promised this week I'm sharing more details on the fabulous shower we threw.  Hopefully you'll get inspired for your next party!  

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite party decor elements - a poof made out of coffee filters!  This idea fit with our theme of burlap and white, since coffee filters come in two colors - white and unbleached (a burlap brown color).  Perfect!

This poof is smaller than the other tissue paper poofs I made (about 10" in diameter).  But its also way more durable - it holds its shape, won't wrinkle or dent, can be stored and used over and over.

Here's what you'll need:
- Coffee Filters - about 100 per poof (unless you're using both colors  - then 100 of each color)
- A small stryofoam ball (mine was about 3" in diameter, but bigger is fine too)
- Hot glue gun and several sticks of hot glue
- Straight pin
- Twine, string or ribbon
- Scissors

Step 1: Wrap ball with coffee filters - so styrofoam doesn't peak through.

Step 2: Secure filter wrapping around ball with hot glue.
Step 3: Fold one filter in half....
...then in half again (now it folded into quarters)...
...then in half again (now its folded into eighths.)
Step 4.  Snip tip off and cover end in hot glue.
Step 5. Hold end of filter to ball until hot glued tip dries.  You will have to hold the first several for awhile, making sure they are secure.  But be patient and keep working in small sections, it gets quicker and easier as it fills out.
Step 6. Fill in holes and trim uneven "bumps" in surface.  As you can see above, I still have some thin spots to fill in and some filters sticking out more than others that need to be sheered with scissors.
Step 7: Add twine, ribbon or string to hang it.  Secure it to ball with a straight pin & some hot glue.  And here's the finished product! (In this version I used both white & unbleached filters - one of each folded together each time.)
Here they are hanging beautifully above our party area!  These are three different versions of the same poof - white, natural & mixed (which uses 100 of each color).

If you like these poofs, stay tuned for a tutorial on tissue paper poofs.  And of course more fun party pictures and ideas to come!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

September Shower

A garden party wedding shower in our yard - thrown for my sweet friend Jessica.

At the end of September I got the wonderful pleasure of hosting an outdoor Wedding Shower at our home.   The day was a perfect - warm and golden - one of the last like that before our fall starts here.  Love these Eastern Washington long summers!  

We threw the shower as a team of friends (always my favorite way to entertain), with each lady taking a different role.  Since I was providing the location, I also provided the tables, chairs, linens, and beverages.  My friends took care of the food, games & program responsibilities.  And we all put together the decor and flowers.  Its so much easier to throw a party this way, and so much more enjoyable!

I'll be sharing some fun decor ideas and details of the shower in the days to come.  So stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons from A to Z ~ Harvest

“The combines are coming!
     The combines are coming!”
This was what I heard as the girls burst through the front door and pulled me out into the yard to see all the excitement. 
   As I’ve mentioned before, we live 3 miles off the nearest paved road—out in the middle of no where the wheat fields.  So this change in our quiet country setting was all very thrilling!  Sure enough, 6 huge combines had suddenly descended onto the fields surrounding our house.  They worked quickly together, plowing and dumping their grain into nearby semi trailers.  We watched in awe, wanting to be part of the action and waving to the harvesters each time they passed.

     With Fall upon us, I can’t help but apply this scene to our ministry at Resonate Church.  As our numbers grow, it reminds me of a bountiful harvest.  We’ve been spared the fires and hail that sometimes come in ministry (no matter how hard you are working!)  I find myself standing nearby, watching and gaping in awe at this crazy-ripe harvest that is happening.  Praise. The. Lord.

     And harvest happens fast!  I witnessed our staff working that first few weeks of school—much like the combines.  They descend on the WSU & U of I campuses, working quickly together to reap as many as possible before they set to planting the winter crop. 

     Honestly, “harvest” can sound scary to me.  To talk to someone about God and hope that it ends in a decision for Him… that’s a lot of pressure!  And let me tell you, I’ve suffered through a few droughts in my 18 years of ministry!   All I could do was pray that if I didn’t harvest something, maybe I at least planted a seed.

     But this season I am seeing the bounty of what Christ describes as a field “ripe for harvest”.  In fact, we find ourselves scrambling for more “silo space” and more workers.  It is exciting and I am drawn to it, without worry or fear.  But like Abby and Zoe, I am marveling at God’s harvest, excited to jump in!

I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! 
They are ripe for harvest.
~ John 4:35

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our House Tours

I just finished putting the rest of the pictures onto two of my pages - "Our First House" and "Our Second House".  I haven't finished the text for each of these house tours yet... there's so much to say about those two lovely homes.  But if a picture's worth a thousand words, hopefully these pictures will do for now!  Just click on the page tabs above or on the links below.

Check out Our First House - Terrace Corner

Then check out Our Second House - Summit Cottage

Stay tuned for a dedicated page touring our current house!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lessons from A to Z ~ The Beauty of Sea Glass

Last month we spent a few days at my parent’s beach house on the Hood Canal.  One of our favorite past-times on the Canal is beach combing.  We usually each pick a different treasure to hunt—this time Zoe chose sea glass. I love sea glass, so I happily helped her hunt. I love the smooth, rounded edges, the pretty colors and the way the light is reflected.  But treasuring beach glass seems ironic.  Its trash.  I wouldn’t pick up a piece of broken glass on the street, but I can’t resist if its on the beach!

As Zoe searched and carefully added each piece to her growing mosaic, I couldn’t help but think of how God values us.  We are much like treasured pieces of sea glass. 

At times you may feel like fragile glass that has been tossed in the waters. You wash up on an unknown shore, and endure the crashing waves, over and over again. You may have moments that you feel will break you.  Or moments you want to get back out to the open water to avoid it all. And yet, God keeps you there for a purpose. To turn you into a treasured gem, beautiful, refined, something of value, that reflects the light beautifully.

We aren’t always sure how we will endure different circumstances in our lives. But I am reminded with each piece in Zoe’s collection, that a shard of discarded trash can become something beautiful and valuable.  God is doing the same with me. He is refining me. Smoothing the rough edges that can bring harm. He values me and with each wave, I am becoming more of who I was created to be.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 
Let perseverance finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  
~ James 1:2-4

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Skirting an Issue - Closet Organizing Tip

Now that my daughters are all moved into their shared room, I have just a few issues left to address.  One of them being closet space!  With school clothes shopping upon us, I am left with the growing challenge of fitting all their clothes into one closet.  I had just about found a place for everything - except their SKIRTS!  
I love their sweet ruffly skirts.  But they take up too much valuable hanging space on the rod.  However, there is still plenty of unused space on their closet walls.  So I devised a quick and simple solution to hang them in this new spot.

Here's what you'll need:

  • about 10 minutes

  • 4ft length of Ribbon - something strong like grosgrain, not satin

  • Small nail or tack 

    • Safety pins - small to medium work best


    Step 1: Iron your ribbon - I made two - one for each girl - in different scrap ribbons I already had.  If they're wrinkled, iron them.  I used my straightener (it was handy and I wanted to do this quickly)!

    Step 2: Measure - I measured every 3" to place my pins.  However you can space them more or less depending on what you're hanging (e.g. scarves may need more spacing).  I wanted enough room for the hangers to easily come in and out, and for the skirts to hang nicely.

    Step 3: Pin - Pin both sides of the ribbon together every 3".  You could also stitch them together (neater, but takes more time) or knot the ribbon (cute, but you will need a longer length of ribbon).  

    Step 4: Hang - I hung it so the pins were facing the back, for a cleaner look.  Hang it as high as you can reach, since the hangers will be a few inches lower.  I used a tack, which seems plenty strong & secure.  But you could use a small nail or hook if you were afraid it might fall out.

    And that's it!  Hang up your items and enjoy how pretty and organized your closet looks!

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Pennant Banners - How To

    I just made these pennant banners for the girls' room and I love them!
    I used them on the curtains, but they'd look great hanging across the ceiling, along a wall, or trimming a piece of furniture.  They're so fun and can be made with any scrap material (or paper!) you have lying around.  And they're growing in popularity - I see them everywhere!  So join the fun and make some of your own for a party, a holiday, or everyday decor.  Here's how:

    Assemble your fabric. You'll need at least 9 inches x 2 feet of fabric for mine.  I like to mix up the fabrics - different colors, some solids, some various patterns.  Then iron them all out, nice & pretty!  Helpful tip:  I've found the better ironing job you do, the easier the sewing will be!  And I'm still a little intimidated by sewing -  I'd rather use any other power tool than my sewing machine. So ironing is my friend.

    Make a pattern. Whatever size you want, its up to you.  I drew out a long triangle on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of card stock (about the biggest that could fit). Card stock is ideal for the next steps! Then I made a second one.  I taped their ends together - making a diamond shape.  This way the fabric will fold in half at the top, to make a double-sided triangle.

    Cut fabric.  Cut your fabric 1/2 an inch larger than your diamond pattern - for your seam allowance.

    Iron seams. You will iron your fabric around your card stock pattern.  I put my pattern on the fabric, folded the 1/2 inch allowance over and ironed well.  Then take out your pattern and press the seams again.  Pin the bottom tips to keep them nice and pointy.

    Fold & pin two sides together.  Since the top of your triangle is folded over, you only have to sew the two angled sides.  

    Sew two sides together.  But leave about a half inch near your top fold unsewn - this is where your twine will thread through.

    Arrange pennants.  Now is the fun part, play with the different triangles until you are happy with the arrangement of your pennants and the length of your banner.  I ended up removing a few pennants (which I'm sure I'll use someday!) so that my banner wasn't too long for the curtains.

    Thread pennants together.  I used twine (taped to a long chop stick!), but string, rope, ribbon or fabric would work too.  I didn't need to sew the pennants to the string.  I like the look of the triangles end to end, and they didn't move or slide once in place.  If you space or swag yours more, you may need to secure the pennants in place.

    Hang those beautiful Pennant Banners proudly!  You will be in love with them!  I love mine.  I made similar ones with bandanas for my daughters' cowgirl birthday party last year, and that's when I was hooked.  Now I'm fighting the urge to put them in the other kids' room!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Curtain Call

    This week, I'm continuing to post about the newly-finished girls room.  Today - curtains!  As you can see, the original curtains were plaid (maroon, navy, forest and dark yellow).  

    They don't match my vision of "romantic, country girl, blue".  But I left them because whatever curtains go up, probably will have to stay with the house once it sells.  And being that its on the market now, I didn't really want to lose my own personally-made curtains.  But its bugging me enough, that I had to end my pain!  

    It didn't costing me anything since I already had a few yards of blue & white ticking from a project years ago. Plus, *bonus* I had enough for 2 sets of curtains! Where will the second set go, you ask?  In this cubby here:
    I took care of the cubby curtains first (it seemed like the easier of the two).  I added a little tension rod and some black curtain clips to hang the cubby-curtains.  So all I had to do was measure the space, iron and hem a big fabric rectangle. Easy!  Here's a glimpse of how they turned out:
    They are perfect for hiding the girls' toys or a set of drawers in the future.

    As much as I like these, I realized they may be a little plain-Jane for a big window.  I still wanted to use the ticking, but needed a little more for this focal window.  Then I thought, "What about some rodeo-style banners to hang in front of them?"  I used a version of them (with bandanas) for the girls' cowgirl birthdays last year.  And I may be officially addicted to using them.  Here's the final product:
    They turned out great and when we move I can just take them down from the curtains.  I'd love to hang them all over the room, but I'm keepin' it simple and staged for now.  Wanna see how I made my version of these pennant banners?  Stay tuned... I'll post a how-to in a few days!

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Burlap Monogrammed Pillows

    I'm in love with burlap.  I could find a use for it everywhere, every season, I love it.  Its cheap, versatile, adds a bit of texture, and looks great under silver or under a picnic basket.  I love it. (Did I say that already?)  I also love monogrammed pillows, especially made with - you guessed it - burlap.  
    I see these in magazines and in other people's homes, and I always think, "I could do that!"  But I never have. So it is high time I used some of my left over fabric to make some of these coveted monogrammed pillows.

    Now I want some for the girls room.  One on each of their beds with their initials on them.  All my ingredients were free (found around the house).  Here's what I needed:
    • Small pillows - I had two that didn't match anywhere, perfect to recover!
    • Burlap - I have plenty around from previous projects
    • Complementary fabric - for the back side I used some left over blue & white ticking for one & a matching dishtowel for the other.
    • Stencil - I printed out a big "A" and "Z" from Word and cut them out.  I thought I'd use black paint, but we had some transfer paper left over from a T-shirt project.  The transfer worked great & took a lot less time & energy than stenciling!
    Left over fabric - burlap, ticking & even a dishtowel.
     I didn't take any pictures of the sewing steps, but I figure that is pretty self explanatory.  (Just follow your basic square pillow directions: Iron your fabric, cut it to size, put the face of the fabrics together (wrong sides out).  Sew three sides, turn it right-side out.  BUT before inserting the pillow and sewing the last side closed, STOP for stenciling monograms!
    Transfer paper & an iron worked great for the stenciled monograms.
    I printed the mirror image of the letters on the transfer paper, cut them out, and ironed them onto the burlap.  After they cooled, I carefully peeled off the backing, and touched up as needed with my iron.  I finished by inserting the pillow and sewing up the fourth side.  I also added a button on the larger pillow's fourth side.  Here they are!
    Burlap Monogrammed pillows - front side (with another DIY'ed white pillow)

    Opposite sides of the pillows - blue & white ticking stripes (and the other pillow in toile)
    I love the combinations these can make on the girls' beds!

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    The Girls' Bedroom - Before & After

    Here are the "before" shots from our moving day:

    Notice the snow frozen on the window!  What a day to move, brr!  Anyway,  let's break down what I'm working with:
    • 2 built in desks with cabinets - love the built ins, not crazy about the dusty blue laminate desk tops & hardware (but we're renting, so we'll work with it!)
    • Light blue walls
    • Long, narrow room - but kind of built for two (the bookshelves create this)
    • Plaid curtains of maroon, navy, green, and dark yellow.  Those will go. :)
    I've decided to work with the color of blue already in the room.  I have a lot of blue & white ticking, some toile & burlap fabric left over from projects years ago.  Using all things I already owned (free!), I created a sort of country girl feeling.  A little bit country, a little bit romantic & feminine... perfect for a girls room in the middle of the wheat fields!

    I'll tell you how I did the projects that pulled this room together soon - including those lettered throw pillows & the banners hanging over the curtains.  I managed to do all of this for free(!) with things I had around the house.  You totally can too... stay tuned!
    P.S. I may add a little more to complete it.  But this is a staged room - so the rule is sweet, simple & clean decor - not too fussy or full.