April 30, 2019

Raised Stencil Tutorial

I love the look of a French Chateau! And unfortunately, there aren't any in Big Rapids, Michigan, so I have done my best to get the feel over the years. When I spotted this technique for raised stencils several years ago, I fell in love! I did my research on how it was done and let it simmer for a while.

I wanted our entry to flow better with the rest of our house. Your entry sets the feel for the rest of your house and it's the first thing your guests see. Sometimes, it's the only thing people see. I wanted ours to make a statement.

So I started out painting the our white closet doors and trim with the same wood-tone technique that I had done in the rest of the house. You can see the closet reflected in the mirror, the shutter on the window and the trim on the door. Then I went to the walls.

I painted them a uniform Sand by Sherwin Williams - from top trim to bottom, including the chair rail. I experimented with the chair rail being a wood tone and didn't like it so went back and covered my experiment.

And then I paused and almost cried. I truly had loved the old paint technique in the room and now it was just a flat, boring beige. I texted my daughter and told her I may have made a mistake. And then I reminded myself how furniture can sometimes look when you're in the middle of the job and told myself that it will be okay!

The next day I gathered the supplies I had bought for this design and took a deep breath. I marked the places I wanted the stencils to be, basically the same places they had been on the previous design.

I used painter's tape to hold the stencil to the wall and applied the plaster over the stencil with a small trowel. I got the plaster into all the holes and then skimmed back over it, leaving a thinner, even coat. Then immediately pulled the stencil off the wall.

I believe I bought this stencil from Royal Design Studio several years ago but couldn't find it to link to it. Cutting Edge stencils also has some beautiful damask patterns.
As you can see, there's just a thin layer of plaster. In some areas, because I had to bend my stencil around corners or be up against trim, I got some thicker lumps. I removed some when the plaster was wet and went back when it was almost dry and sanded some down. It was really easy to work with. And the imperfections add to the charm.

I let the stencils dry for a full 24 hours. The next day they were hard and solid. My family panicked a little saying, "You know this is permanent!"  (I've been known to re-decorate.) ;)

I then used this roller and put Sand by SW in one side and Antique White by Valspar  in the other side and went back over my walls, including the raised stencil to get an uneven look on my walls.

I wasn't blogging at the time so I don't have any more pictures of the process. I then used these products to accent the stencils.

It was really an experiment. Some things that I thought I would like were too dark. Whenever I didn't like something, I covered it back up with Sand. There are about 20 of these raised stencils in the room and each one is uniquely painted. What I mostly ended up with was very little of the bronze glaze and more of the pearl glaze. The stencils become more evident depending on where you're standing in the room and how the light is hitting them.

If I ever get tired of them, a coat of paint the same color as the room would cause them to barely show.

Here are some pictures I found on Pinterest that were my inspiration:

This last picture is a door! And I know exactly the door in my house that I can do this on!

And here's mine. I darkened the color so that you can see the pattern a little better. Our walls are much lighter. And none of my inspiration pictures used a glaze with a sheen to it but like I said, I experimented and that's what I ended up liking.

I think a lot of my inspiration pictures were done on plaster walls (of a French chateau) and that was more work than I could do. So mine is a modern compromise.

I hope this explained the process well. It took me about 5 days to finish this all. One for trim and closets, one for wall base coat, one for plaster stencils, and a couple more days painting all the stencils and finding the look I liked. This is a large room (25x15) and the fun thing is, depending on your stencil pattern, placement and paint, there are so many options to try!

My husband loves it. He got a far away look in his eye in the middle of this whole thing and I asked him what he was thinking. He replied, "I'm worried about all the rooms you could do this in!" 

Poor man! Right now, I'm thinking about that closet door!

love and blessings~

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

Sponge paint roller
Sand by Sherwin Williams
Antique White by Valspar
painter's tape
wall plaster
Valspar Copper Glaze
Rustoleum Pearl Glaze

April 29, 2019

A Teal Velvet Settee

Hi Friends!

Did you know that the word "friend" that we see in the Word of God is not the same as the way we commonly use it today in our society?  The word "friend" is a term that they used for someone they were in covenant with. When the Bible says that Abraham was a friend of God, it means that he was in covenant with God! 

When I say "friend," I am using it to say, "we are in covenant with each other as part of the Body of Christ!"  I just love that!

I wanted to share more details of my entry makeover with you, including the other side of the room. 

My husband and I bought this antique settee when we lived in Winchester, Virginia about 18 years ago. There was a beautiful little antique shop in town owned by the sweetest man. We were in there one day when I spotted this settee and 'oohed and ahhed'  and stared and sighed. lol  Not very subtle, right? Our anniversary was coming up and my husband suggested we buy it for our anniversary gift. We call it the "loooooove seat."
It was originally covered in an emerald green velvet which I'm sure, at one time,was beautiful. But time had caused it to fade and wear and you could tell it was old. I kept it that way for several years, as it went well with our decor in Virginia, but I've recovered it a couple of times in the last 16 years.

I recovered it this winter in this scrumptious teal velvet. (the actual color is a little greener. I couldn't get it to photograph as true as I wanted.)  This kind of settee is easy to reupholster. I just used an electric staple gun to attach the fabric and then covered the staples with double piping that I sewed myself. You could also use premade trim if you wanted, which would mean no sewing at all!

The art piece behind it was also purchased at a Kirkland's in Virginia. I added this fun little gold stump table for a bit of whimsy. I've toyed with the idea of adding some modern pieces to our house lately. 

Funny story about this gold stump...I was shopping online one day for something fun and whimsical to put next to the settee when I found a very similar gold stump.  I marked it to think about, and come back later to purchase, if I decided I wanted it. Just a few days later, I was in HomeGoods in Grand Rapids with our daughter and one of the first things I spotted when we walked into the store was this gold stump! I promptly put it in my cart and it rode around the store with us until we left with it. 
I ordered this teal velvet on line, which is always a risk, but when it arrived it was even more delicious than I had imagined. I had ordered all they had left and had just enough to cover the settee and make a pillow. I love the dramatic pop of color it gives to this room. I found an almost identical teal velvet home decor fabric at our nearby Joann's Fabric and am thinking about using it elsewhere in our house.

When I painted the blue buffet, I bought a sample-sized paint this same teal color and used it to deepen the color in the corners.

I'll be back soon to give you all the details about the walls. I used a fun technique that I've never done before and it was so easy! Hope you're having a great day!

love and blessings~

 "and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God." 
James 2:23

April 26, 2019

The Veil - a book review

I love to read! I would just about rather read than anything else! And I will often read every minute I can and finish a book in a day. 

I'm really terrible at book clubs because I finish the whole book in a couple of days and want to go on to the next one.  I can't talk accurately about the chapter we were supposed to read and discuss it well because I've finished the book and read another one since we got together. 

There's got to be some good to this, right? So, I've decided to start posting reviews on books that I think are wonderful and helpful. You'll find book reviews under 'Faith' at the top.

I recently read a wonderful book by Blake K. Healy called, The Veil.  As early as he can remember, Blake has seen the spirit world. He didn't realize that everyone wasn't seeing what he saw until he was in grade school. He saw demons and angels and spiritual activity. He was raised in a Christian home but it wasn't until he attended Bethel's School of Ministry in Redding, California that he felt comfortable sharing his wonderful gift.

His book is an honest account of his struggle to understand his gift and to be accepted by the people around him. I loved his vulnerability and the beautiful way he describes what he sees and the understanding God has brought over the years.

He says that everyone of us has a 'personal angel.' He calls them this instead of 'guardian angels' because they are so much more than that. They are both a reflection of who we are and what we need. They minister to us from the Father when we are weak and they rejoice in our victories. They are with us from birth to death.

He sees demons and has come to a greater understanding of how they operate and has seen how simple and complete our authority in Christ is over them, if we know it.

I want to share an excerpt of his book with you.  I hung on every word but this part was my favorite because it showed so clearly the love of Jesus.  He is describing what is happening during a worship service, starting with the worship team practicing.

"Three angels are pacing up and down the rows of chairs, swirling their arms in wide arching patterns that send little blue pellets of water from their fingertips.  Their long, green robes add to the whimsical quality of their movements and seem to be soaked with the same water they sprinkle throughout the sanctuary.
The worship team practice goes no different than usual. People are discussing which key would be most appropriate for this song and when the best time for the drums to come in on that song is, but for some reason I can feel a growing sense of anticipation. This isn't because of the angels. They, or others like them, prepare the sanctuary every Sunday.
As the service gets closer, people start piling in. A momentum builds during practice, and the presence of God starts to enter the room. Then the first real song starts and it feels like the song hits a brick wall. I used to find this part of worship frustrating. This initial resistance happens almost every time. 
I used to blame this resistance on the members of the congregation-secretly, of course, because that sort of thinking isn't very Christian. Now I tend to think that this resistance is a natural force in and of itself. Climbing a mountain is a strenuous and difficult process that requires much effort, patience and skill. You won't hear a mountain climber complain about this, however. They will be too busy telling you how fantastic the view from the top is.  I think that sometimes an initial struggle makes the result more valuable.
I see three new angels standing at the front of the room-each head and shoulders above anyone on the stage. They struggle to raise their muscular arms as if they are trying to lift something immensely heavy, though I don't see anything in their hands. As they strain against this invisible force, I see that small green plants have sprouted in the places where the swirling angels sprinkled those pellets of water. The plants grow and shrink in sync with the large angels' attempts to lift their arms. I get the impression that they are struggling against the very same resistance that I feel whenever worship starts. It is as if they are trying to pull life from the ground.
One of our worship leaders steps up to the microphone to start the first song. I like this guy. I can see his heart from where I'm sitting; it burns white-hot, glowing in a way that stings my eyes. Will knows about purity. He doesn't care how high or steep the mountain is; he just wants to get to where God is waiting. And he wants to bring everyone with him. Whatever touched that heart would instantly incinerate and go up in smoke, like incense to heaven. A heart like his can turn anything into worship. The presence of God has always come during every worship service I have ever attended, but I am constantly amazed at how significantly the posture of our hearts affects our ability to feel that presence.
I still feel the resistance by the time the first song ends, but the angels' plants have grown to the ceiling and have begun to twist around the fluorescent lights like ivy.
The second song begins, and the second worship leader takes the lead. The moment she opens her mouth, I feel as if I'm being yanked up into the air. The wall behind the worship team begins to take on the texture and color of clouds and sunshine. The plants that had grown earlier begin to release large pieces of pollen that swirl through the air in time with the music.
Near the end of the song, she starts singing a simple prophetic song, "Sons and Daughters." Strength and encouragement appear out of thin air and strap on to people in the congregation like pieces of glowing red armor. It sinks into their skin and melts into their bones.
During the third song there is such  strong sense of being drawn into the loving heart of God that I forget to write for the first half of the song. It's a real face-to-face moment with God. I can't see anything when I look around the room. Most of the angels have gone, but when I focus on one person at a time, I see Jesus standing with him or her.
We humans have a different relationship with God than the angels do. I don't always understand the difference, but sometimes, when His presence takes on a certain quality, all the angels leave. Then it's just God and us.
A woman in the third row is holding her hands over her heart. Jesus stands directly in front of her, taking her hands in His and He whispers in her ear. A man is lying in the aisle with his face planted firmly in the carpet. Jesus kneels over him and rests both hands on his back.
Jesus is visiting each person individually yet all at the same time. Most are interacting with Him in one way or another-dancing, crying, laughing, or simply standing hand in hand. Others are scanning the room with a bored look on their faces or sitting with arms crossed. Jesus is standing near them too, or course, just waiting. He doesn't look frustrated or even disappointed. He's just waiting."

I'm crying as I type this. I had to get up and get a tissue. The love of Christ undoes me. To understand that Jesus stands and waits with love and patience. That He came to everyone in that room.  Even to those that weren't open to Him. 

There were so many wonderful stories in this book of what Blake has seen in the spirit realm.  But the most wonderful part is understanding that God wants us all to know Him and see these things too. And Blake shares this in such a way, with prayer, for each of our eyes to be opened to see these things. I have seen many things in my years with God but never to this extent but I now have faith that God is willing and removing the obstacles and wrong thinking that hinder me from seeing more.

I pray that you will too.

love and blessings~

 "I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" 
Job 19:27