Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Long Road . . .

This road we travel seems so long
Signs giving clues we are near our destination
Yet many still
The steps to take
The prayers to fling heavenward
The heartaches to endure
Until we see Him face to face
Know Him fully as He knows us
See His glory
Feel His embrace

This is a re-post from a few years ago, but the sentiment stands until the end of time...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

As the Tables Turn

You may recall how a friend of mine gave me a table "puzzle" a while ago.  It is a beautiful table with some interesting features.
Well, I tried putting the table together.  After filling some of the old holes and buying new screws to attach the top to the legs and apron, I was ready to turn the table upright.
It didn't go so well.  One of my girls helped me get it on its feet, and then the screws holding the sliders (extenders) let go, and the table fell like someone had given it a karate chop in the middle.  The pieces were still in good shape, nothing broke, but the wood filler wasn't enough to hold the screws.

I talked with my dad to see what he thought, and he gave me a few suggestions including moving the sliders out a little, making new holes and moving on from there.   I just wasn't sure I would be able to use the center leg if I spaced the sliders farther apart.  And, since my dad doesn't live close and my skills are not the master carpenter or cabinetmaker level, I needed to consider some other options.

I started thinking about making a table top out of boards, for a farm table look.  That way I could make it longer to accommodate more friends!  I looked at some pictures on Pinterest and Ana White's plans and started thinking about what I could do.

Then a friend introduced me to the "materials" section on Craigslist!  There were so many treasures there, from 18 inch wide pine boards, to columns (not for the table), to flooring. . .  As I scanned the listings I came up to an ad for antique cupboard doors.

Aren't they nice?  Each door was 20 inches wide by 80 inches tall.  And 40"x80" would be a nice table size!

So after some discussions with my husband, my mom, my friend...  We went ahead and got the doors!  They were inexpensive and when we went to pick them up, the gentleman who was selling them had a story to go with them!  He said he worked in Charlestown (MA) and heard that they were renovating the Warren Tavern, but just tearing things out without a thought for what could be re-used or salvaged.  He went over and was able to acquire some wide plank flooring, some paneling and these doors.  When I asked what he had used some of the other materials for, he said his father and grandfather were cabinetmakers, and though he didn't pursue that for his employment, he did make some blanket chests and cabinets with some of the pieces.

He told us he was trying to downsize his collection of materials, as his children weren't interested in taking up the cause. 

I am in the process of cleaning them up.  I scraped off some of the loose paint, scrubbed them with warm soapy water. . .
 and then used some baking soda and water to get a little more of the "history" off.

There is some rusty old hardware on the doors that I will need to try to remove, so that will be the next step.   I am not going to strip the paint because I really like the character of the crackle and scratches.  I will seal the doors to keep the paint from chipping off and protect the finish, and then it will be a matter of attaching the doors to the apron and legs. . .and more than likely some more consultations with my dad!

I'm not there yet, but I hope to work on that over the next couple of weekends! 

What projects to you have going right now?  Share in the comments, I would love to hear what you are up to!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Making Simple Journals

Making books by hand is something that has intrigued me for quite some time.  I think some of it has to do with my problem with love of paper, but I also found a book a few years ago that has examples of journals that have been created, as well as instructions for different types of bindings.  I hope to someday make an actual book, experimenting with different binding techniques.   I even have a Pinterest board for different techniques I find and would like to try.  (I also have one for Art Journaling)

I recently was asked to bring a craft project along for a Senior High girls' retreat.  I thought about some watercolors for painting, but would have to purchase more supplies, and not knowing exactly what our space layout would be, I wasn't sure about tables to work on, water for painting and cleaning brushes and things like that.

I then considered something with paper. . . ah, paper! Did I mention I have a problem with love of paper?  I have quite the stash variety of paper, but what could we do with it?  Mixed media?  Maybe, but sometimes people can be intimidated with so much freedom of creative choice.  Somehow (I don't remember exactly how I decided) I ended up with making journals.  I still needed to pick up some supplies, but the dollar store had much of what I needed.  There were other things I picked up from the office supply store.

Here is what we started with:

  • lightweight cardboard gift boxes
  • glue sticks
  • scissors
  • binder rings
  • paper in a variety of colors, weights, sizes
  • envelopes - business and manila
  • hole punches
  • stickers
  • paper tape in a variety of colors/styles
I prepped some of the pages before we went, to make it simpler and less time consuming for some of the assembling.  I cut some paper to size, punched holes in the pages, cut the gift boxes for the covers, and covered them with some white gesso.  I also made some small file folders out of colored card stock - just for something different and fun!

I didn't get any pictures from the girls putting them together, but here are some glances at the one I worked on.

There are many different envelope templates and free printables at your fingertips.  Simply do a search online, or on Pinterest, and you will see how many are out there! 

Here are just a few places, to get you started:
Creativity Prompt
Sweetly Scrapped
Simply Crafts
Paper Crafts Magazine

But please be aware that some sites allow the printables "for personal use only." 

I would love to hear if you have put together any journals - and how you did it! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Some Summer Ramblings

It has been a crazy couple of weeks - at least in my head!  There have been various obligations and activities, and adjusting to the schedule of Summer seems to be taking me some time this year!

The girls and I were helping with Vacation Bible School at our church last week, so between work and running over there, they were full days! 

My youngest needs/wants a rug for her room, and with many of them being expensive, and our budget rather small, I turned to the Internet (and many creative people) for ideas.  I found various versions of pom-pom rugs, and that is what we are doing!  My daughter picked out the colors of yarn she wanted, and I am making the pom-poms.  It is a simple activity that can be done while watching TV, and doesn't require too much focus.  Once I use up all of the yarn, I will tie the pom-poms onto some of the rubber shelf-liner, or you could use non-slip matting that goes under small rugs. 

That is my latest summer project, and there are many other things that I still have to finish. . . Often my project for the day or week is dependent on my attention span or time availability. 

I have also been trying different flavors of "infused" water.  I am really enjoying cucumber and basil added to my water.  It is very refreshing, and adds just enough flavor to make it that much more enjoyable.  I have done lemon or lime slices in the past, and still like those, but would like to try watermelon, or blueberry, or some combination of summer fruits.

Any suggestions?

I think that is all for now, so until next time. . .

Monday, June 16, 2014

Putting the Pieces Together. . .Finding Spiritual Whitespace
This post is part of the  “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!  

Earlier this year a friend asked if I wanted a table she had in her garage.  It was an old, heavy table, but the most notable thing was that it was in pieces.  I like older pieces and sometimes stop and wonder about their history.  Was this a family table, or just used occasionally?  Did the craftsman that built it have a specific person in mind when they applied the carving tools to the wood?  What was the intention of the design and designer?

We went into the garage and she gathered the pieces. . . a carved leg here, another leaf there and soon the pile of deconstructed materials was in my trunk.  I knew I wasn't going to get to it right away, so I put the pieces out on the back porch of our apartment for the time being.

This past weekend I decided it was time to put the puzzle together.

I laid out the pieces placing them this way and that - until I found their place of belonging.  Then I ran to the hardware store for some fasteners.  Armed with wood glue and screws, I began to connect the parts.  There were some holes that needed to be filled with wood filler, and then needed to cure for a day or two, to ensure the screws would hold.

So what does this have to do with a book review?

I tend to seek connections in my world.  Things that seem to follow patterns seem to stand out to me.  This table was created, once strong, had a defined purpose.  Then it seemed to come apart - for unknown (to me) reasons it seemed to lose it's definition, it's ability to hold together, to serve.  It stayed that way for a while.  Then with some help, trying to find where the pieces fit together, looking for the missing parts, then adding them in again, this table is taking shape for a new life.  Still to be used as it was designed, and still with the dents, scratches, marks that it picked up along the way.  All of these things add to the character, the story of this table.  It will be useful, helpful and bring others together.

In her new book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Bonnie Gray walks us through her experience of deconstruction, through a diagnosis of PTSD from childhood trauma, and as she uncovers the events through prayer and counseling, she is beginning to find her way to whitespace for rest.  

Just as the table was once strong and "put-together,"  Bonnie tells how she was a successful overachiever and was excited about the writing process for a book when she began experiencing debilitating panic attacks.

Some parts of the table are worn or cracked, or maybe there are holes that need reinforcing with wood filler and glue.  This book reminds us that life can wear on us and our legs can get wobbly from pressures and even past traumas.  We are not able to hold up the things we once did, or perform the tasks we once performed.  There are times when those places where we are worn thin need to be uncovered, dealt with, then filled new.  Then there is a time of waiting for the glue and filler to set, to be accepted, to make us stronger.

Whitespace gives us a place to pause, to rebuild, to rest from the activities and goals, even if they are admirable.  Our heavenly Father mends us through His word, with His love and makes us strong and ready to be used for the plan He designed.

In this book, Bonnie walks us through her emotional story with thought provoking questions, leading us to seek out our own need for rest.

The table will be completed soon, and will be a place for sitting, reading, drawing and visiting with friends.  This table will be a whitespace. . .

Bonnie Gray is the writer behind Faith who wrote a book about her inspiring, heart-breaking journey to find rest, which garnered Publisher’s Weekly starred review. I’m taking the journey to find rest through this guidebook and invite you to read it too.  You can get a copy HERE.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What is Your Motivation?

I seem to have hit another dry spell when it comes to ideas.      Wait. 

That isn't entirely true.

I seem to be able to come up with ideas, but the implementing is the problem.  I have a list of projects that I would like to get moving on, but by the time I get home from work, get dinner figured out and made, the family fed and the girls pressed to finish homework (which they do pretty well without too much asking from me), my mental fuel tank is near empty. 

I read this post yesterday Why the World Needs the Makers to Say No Boldly (and again today) by Myquillyn, aka The Nester.  I am a maker.  I need a good chunk of time to feel like I can get something accomplished, and if I foresee an interruption, it makes me procrastinate.  Doesn't sound like it makes much sense, but if you read what she says, and the article she refers to, it might - I hope.  

If not, well at least I know I am good at one thing...procrastinating!  

So back to the title of the post - what motivates you to start a project?
  • Is it easier to keep working on something once you have started?  
  • Or is it easier to start and then set it aside?  
  • What are some "tools" you use to get yourself moving on something?  

I would love to hear some tips, advice, suggestions...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What I have been up to. . .

I just wanted to share some of the things I have been working on lately.  My projects don't necessarily have a schedule or order to them.  Sometimes an idea hits and I need to get it started, then it might get interrupted by another idea or project, and eventually I get back to my original. . .

Anyway, here are some of the things I have been working on and thoughts on some other ideas I have waiting in the wings!

I participated as a vendor for a Girls' Nite Out event in April, and they asked each of us to contribute something to the auction. The "Seasons" dictionary page watercolor is what I submitted.  The other items were things I included in my booth for the evening.

Here is a detail.

This past week I spent some time adding to my older daughter's prom dress.  She found one she liked, but wanted the mesh top added.  And when we couldn't find a necklace to go along with her outfit, we decided to add some beads to the neckline.

I made the pattern using another dress that had a top similar to what she wanted.

Then worked on figuring out how to work with this sheer fabric without the stitches showing too much.
And the completed addition.  I also made flower crown from scratch, as she couldn't find a headband or clip that she liked.  It was a simple construction of covered wire and silk flowers from the floral section at the fabric store.
 We also decided to make the boutonniere for her date using some real carnations and a sprig of the artificial flowers we used in her headpiece, then wrapped the stems in ribbon.  I have a talented friend who made the bouquets and boutonnieres for my wedding, so I had seen this done, and it wasn't quite so intimidating!

 Once prom was done, I got back to work on this painting for my sister.



 Here it is up to this point.  Still work to do, but little by little it is getting there!

Then there are the ideas that percolate in my head.  I try to make note of what they are so I don't lose them.  This is the beginning of the thought process for a series of paintings based on the fields behind the house where I grew up.  I have stories to go with these too. . .  More on this another time. . .
This is a sketch of a painting that has been bouncing around in my head for years!  A friend and I took our kids to Liberty Park, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty a few years ago.  I took some photos, and I liked the composition and lines of one of the photos of the train station.  I told myself I would do a painting of that  someday, and while that "someday" hasn't quite gotten here, I at least have it sketched on a canvas!
 These are just some of the things I have been working on, and hope to be working on soon!

Oh, and I have an idea for a pom-pom rug for my younger daughter's room too!  She picked out the yarn at the fabric store while we were getting the sheer fabric and beads for the prom dress.  So that will be in the mix somewhere after the horse painting. . .
What projects do you have going, or coming?