I finally changed the blackboard above my mantle this week. And yes, that is the mantle my husband made! All year it has displayed my pregnancy announcement consisting of birdies on a tree branch and a little nest in a birdcage but recently I realized it needed some updating. I’m still working on finishing the frame in the garage, projects have been known to be started and then picked up years later by myself, but it’s been one of those projects that have been tossed to the wayside. I love how rustic the wood, linen, and chalkboard makes the living room feel.
I decided since it’s fall, I would use one of my favorite bible verses for thankfulness:
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.” Psalm 9:1
I also found some awesome mini lights from the dollar store in orange and a purplish black that make my fireplace look warm with glowing coals. I actually never turn them off- they are literally glowing all soft and warm for me all day and all night.
It’s more or less one of those ‘for-looks’ gas fireplaces. The gasman who came to inspect it when we moved in told me it’s not efficient for heating and cost a lot of money to run, in gas. We have never turned it on, believe it or not.
Still, I love the effect the orange glow has with my cheater coals. You can get them around Halloween at the DollarTree. There are so many things you can do to improve your home and make it cozy, even if you dont have the bonified item or funds.
So, I have been working all year on my window treatments. My mom has connections with a coffee roaster, so she gets burlap coffee sacks for free. I really love them, but the stiffness in them makes it a tad tedious to work with.
I had some great ideas for curtains and so I hung up a few mangled hunks of sacks tied with some ribbons of burlap, got bored, and literally left it there.
For a year.
Okay, so it’s time to fix the mess that was my dining room window treatments and I saw a wonderful example of a burlap window valance here.. I have since done the left side also and it looks lovely!
All I did was spray a little bit of ironing starch on the bags and iron so that they layed very flat and stiff.
Then I measured how wide I wanted it to be, traced out the shape I wanted on the bottom of the sack folded in half and cut. I really didn’t like the amount of light let in with only one side of the burlap sack because of how wide the mesh was of the fabric. I highly suggest using the whole sack instead of only one side. I then sewed the top to allow room for the rod to go through.
I searched for a cute monogrammed letter ‘M’ online, blew it up as large as I wanted and printed it out. Then I put the paper with the monogram underneath the top layer and, with my white acrylic paint, traced over the letter with a paintbrush.
My coffee sacks vary in thread space width, but these sacks had very large gaps inbetween each thread. It did take a few going overs with the paint but they look beautiful! I may update this later and add the lace to the bottom, but for now it isn’t too ‘girly’ for my 4 boys and husband (or my tomb-boy daughter) so I worry they may complain if I do!
A YEAR AGO TODAY- I had a fear in my heart I had never known before and I was asked to trust in God with ultimate ‘Even-If’ faith. Even if my sweet little daughter did not live, God was still good- and He BLESSED us with friends and family praying around the world, with fast healing and recovery, and with new friendships and opportunities to share our Lord with others in need in ways we never could under normal circumstances. Most of all- he blessed us with Emma. I pray today, as Sweet Emma picks out her prettiest girly-tutu to wear to church, that parents can remember our plight and be weary of 2nd story open screen windows as the nice weather moves in. I also pray that people can find it in them to see God in EVERY situation- traumatic or not, and use it to strengthen each other.
Emmalia after being admitted into the PICU.
Emma just after tube was removed.
Emmalia 24 hours after she fell, walking around PICU
I have only just begun to enjoy what Summer we have had- as short as it has been- in Oregon, and here is Fall, creeping in. Fall and Winter last so long here, as Spring is more an extension of Winter or a faux-Fall. But I am a deeply seeded warm weather person and finding ways to extend that is super important to me!
I have a million projects I need to do and no matter what it just seems like I wake up with a dozen more swimming around my head. Here are a few, to fill you in:
Choose curriculum for my 7th and 8th graders. I home school them and this has been the one evading me. I’m pulled in so many academic ways as where to go that I haven’t been able to make up my mind. And here, school is starting in a few weeks.
Build the after-school center for my 3 middle kiddos. My plans are to build a 3 cubby bench system for shoes along with a wall system consisting of backpack/coat hooks, file holder for homework packets/folders and cork board to pin field trip notices, encouragement notes and Bible verses per each child.
Organize the family room. We have a lot of papers, toys, books, and misc that need to find a home. I’m still designing a system for that room since it also doubles as our home school room.
Build side tables for the family room and living room. I have a few ideas for these!
Build a coffee table for the living room. Right now I’m using my black cedar hope chest for this, and we really need a shorter square table that is great for gathering around!
Build 2 loft beds for the older girls. We would like to move all four girls into one room and make 2 loft beds for the older girls with the younger ones sleeping underneath.
Put up shelving. We need shelves in a bad way. We have a couple of very adventurous kids who love to get into things. Even high things. We just need more unreachable places to store things! I also need places to store my photography equipment and books and… well, everything. I do not have an office- instead, my husband and I both have half our bedroom as our office area.
Put up photos on the wall. As a photographer, it is a mortal sin that I have exactly one photo on my wall. Yes friends- one. It’s a canvas shot I took of Emmalia. And that is it. It’s time to put up our family ! I haven’t had the frames to put them into nor the money to get them or print out suitable shots! This is something we are working towards!
Create my chalk mantle piece and put it up. I have a whole bunch of phrases I want to put on a chalk board I am making, but it’s huge and I need to find the perfect board for it! This is going to hang over my mantle.
Organize my kitchen dishes. Most of my dishes awkwardly do not fit in the kitchen. It desperately needs a better solution!
Now this is, by no means, the extent of the list of to-do’s. But it’s a start, to give you an idea.
Just listing it makes me feel guilty for not working on it at the moment! Better get started! At least you know what to expect.
Monday I am going to attempt to be gone for a day at a lighting workshop