June 27, 2016

Making Things Beautiful

Hi All!

Sorry that I've been gone for so long! If you read my other blog, Gates of Crystal, you know I've been busy!

I used to wonder if decorating my home was ok with God. I wondered if I was laying up treasure in the wrong place and valuing the wrong things.

I started decorating when I was a kid. I would rearrange my furniture in my bedroom and it was important to me that my room was clean. It was a reflection of 'me' even then. I remember finding out a friend's mom was selling a piece of furniture that I liked and telling my mom. My mom bought it for my room.

When I was in high school, I picked out a new bedspread and had my mom take me to the store for paint. I painted my room by myself on a Friday night. I was an only child and my mom worked full time so I was home alone a lot. I would clean and get things perfect and then enjoy the house. (I never liked to cook!)

When my husband first got his PhD, we moved several times before he got a tenure-track position. We rented homes in two different states we lived in and it was really hard for me that I couldn't paint the rooms. I had learned by then to sew slipcovers so I would match my furniture to the carpet of the house. I also loved garage sales and estate sales and that's when I started finding furniture at prices I could afford. I babysat children from our church so that my kids would have playmates and we would have the extra money.

My family has thought that I was a little obsessed at times. But being a stay-at-home mom for so many years and homeschooling (which requires you to stay at home) it was the thing that kept me sane. I could control my environment.

And that's what brings me to this thought. When we visited The Mises Institute in Auburn in March, I sat in on several of the talks. The Mises Institute is a Libertarian based think-tank and a lot of the people involved are Christian. I love attending the conferences there and often times will hear the Holy Spirit teach me while I'm listening to a lecture.

I was listening to a gentleman give a very informative talk about how our government is causing farmers to not be able to own land and to farm when the Holy Spirit began to enlighten me.

One of the first commands God gave was 'to be fruitful and multiply and take dominion over the Earth.' Without apology, I will say that I don't believe that God's intent was that we take dominion with guns or force but His intent was that we take dominion over evil with love and salvation.

If you read the Old Testament, many of the stories are exactly this: take dominion over the Earth. Obviously, the story of the Children of Israel being set free and taking the Promised Land would be the big one.

I believe we're each given a 'realm of influence.' For some, it may just be their families but for others it may be a Bible study, a neighborhood, a congregation. For some, it will be a world-wide influence. All with the same goal: take dominion, in Jesus' Name, over the Earth.

Where the enemy has brought destruction and chaos, we are to bring healing and love. Where there is lack and loss, we are to bring love and covenant relationship. Where there is ugliness, we are to bring beauty.

Whatever we touch should be better off for having us there. We are the light of the world. Joy, love and beauty should be the fragrance we leave behind when we go.

I believe that ALL people are creative. They ALL were made in the image of God and God is a creator. All children love music, love to move to music and dream of 'making' something. My grandson wants to be an inventor when he grows up and he's always talking about what he's going to invent. (My daughter doesn't have a microwave because of the negative health issues it causes and one day he said he was going to invent something that heated your food real fast! Ha!)

I never want to value the things I own more than God or the people He's put in my life. Therefore, I give a lot of things away. It doesn't bother me one bit. God has asked me before to give away things that were the most dear to me~ my Bible, a banner that I took everywhere and was like an extension of my arm, all my worship dance dresses~ those were the things that were hard to give away. They represent my heart more than my house.

But I believe that God spoke something into us when He told us to take dominion over the Earth and in a lot of us women, we express that with our homes. This is our territory where we express ourselves and want to have a perfect representation of who we are. And God is the creator of color and beauty. God wants our homes to be an oasis in a crazy world.

I ask God when I want a specific piece of furniture and He always brings me the most amazing deals! The Word tells us that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He brings us the desires of our heart.

love and blessings~

Family Room Tweaks

Our family room got a few 'tweaks' getting ready for the photo shoot with Romantic Homes. When Staci Dumoski, the editor at Romantic Homes, requested that the slip covered ottoman be in the living room, that meant that I had an extra coffee table. I thought that our new table was more 'romantic' than our industrial cart, so I moved it into the family room and put our cart in the basement.
My daughter's always my most observant and honest critic. She said, "I don't know, Dad. This coffee table looks so good in here that I bet the cart doesn't make it back in here!"  (I think she might be right!)  It's surprising how much this small change brightened the room. I'm glad I left the top of the table the original wood tone. It flows well with the other wood in this room.

I had also been thinking about painting the mirror above the fireplace for a while. I reasoned I could always paint it back if I didn't like it but I'm loving it blue! I used a couple of shades of blue chalk paint that I mixed myself and a gold glaze mix on the details. Then I used a chalk paint antiquing wax in the corners.
I love fabric. One of the things that always gets me redecorating is finding a new fabric that I love. I found this linen stripe at warehousefabrics.com and made several pillows out of it. The photos of our house are planned for a Spring 2017 issue of Romantic Homes so I used pastel accents in every room.

My peonies were all gone by the time of the photo shoot. A sweet friend showed up at my door in the morning with all the peonies that were left on her bushes! I combined them with hydrangeas I had gotten at the store for this bouquet on the coffee table.

Behind the couch, I put some faux Spring branches mixed with bird cages and gold candlesticks.
My mercury glass lamps are a constant because we use them in the evenings.

I added some matching gold and mercury glass candlesticks to the mantel.
I moved my one fireplace screen in here for the shoot. I took these pictures before Kristen got here.

I hope you're having a wonderful summer! This is our last week of our grandson's teeball games, my son goes back to Boston tomorrow and our bathroom demo starts on Wednesday.

I'll be back soon with our guest room that I haven't shown you in a while.

love and blessings~
"Behold, I will set your stones in turquoise, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. I will make your summits of rubies and your gates of crystal, and your entire wall of precious stones."
Isaiah 54:11,12

I'm joining these linky parties"

June 24, 2016

Ticking and Toile in the Dining Room

Hi Friends~

My last couple of posts have been sharing all the changes I made while preparing for a photo shoot with Romantic Homes. I've shared the living room and entry with you and today I'm sharing the dining room.

I used a beautiful toile, that I found recently, in the living room, and since the living room and dining room are essentially the same room, I used it in the dining room too.

I made two new slipcovers for the head and foot of the table. I made these slipcovers more fitted than my previous ones made out of drop cloths and added a gentle ruffle. I'm keeping the old slipcovers to use when my sweet (messy) grandchildren eat over. ;)
I had originally covered the cane-backed dining room chairs with the same drop cloth. But after finding this toile and the coordinating ticking, I decided to recover them with ticking. I added a few layers of batting before adding the fabric to make them more comfortable.
 I got these beautiful delphinium from our local florist ~ Megan at This and That. If you live in the Big Rapids area, be sure to visit her beautiful shop! She special~ordered these and had them waiting for me the day before the shoot. I used to have these growing in my yard but they didn't survive one of our cold Michigan winters. They are one of my favorite flower because of beautiful blues.

I still have not found any bar stools that I love at the price I want to spend. I've painted ours an antique white so that they 'disappear' a little.

Sorry for the poor quality of the picture below. It's really hard to get certain angles with all the windows in our house and the glare off the floors.
Kristen had a list of shots that Staci Dumoski, the editor of Romantic Homes, had specifically requested, but she took pictures of everything! Even things I hadn't planned on. I'm sure most of them won't make the magazine but there was no stone left unturned!  You can see her list here on the dining room table.
I'll be back soon with pictures of our family room. I moved our new coffee table that was in the living room to the family room and the industrial cart has a new home in the basement. I did it for the shoot but we all like it so much that I think it's going to stay that way. It really lightened up the room.

Our shower door and claw-foot slipper tub have been delivered. We ordered these from Menards and they shipped within days. A plumber is coming today to see what needs to be done in our master bath for the new tub and vanity. Demo is scheduled for next Wednesday so I am boxing things up and my husband and I are moving to the main floor bathroom. We have another bathroom upstairs but my son uses that, so we'll use the downstairs for a couple of weeks.

As soon as we hear from the plumber, I'll order a vanity. We need to make sure our plumbing comes out of the wall. Our current vanity sits on the floor and the one I'd like has legs.

love and blessings~

"Behold, I will set your stones in turquoise, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. I will make your summits of rubies and your gates of crystal, and your entire wall of precious stones."
Isaiah 54:11,12

I'm joining these linky parties:
Rattlebridge Farms

June 22, 2016

Our Photo Shoot with Romantic Homes~Entry

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful day!

Well, our photo shoot is over.  And after working so hard to get everything ready for the last two months, I have crashed!

What an adventure! It would be one thing to have one or two rooms ready to photograph but having eight rooms ready really wiped me out! My husband claims I collapsed on the kitchen counter as soon as the photographer left. He might be right.

I know HE was the one who drove an hour to Grand Rapids to pick up our son at the airport while I took a nap!

Anyway, our photographer was Kristen Wheeler at khphotographics and she was so enjoyable! She's originally from Michigan and now lives with her husband close to New Orleans. She came alone and stayed almost three hours. She used one lense and got overall shots of each room. Then changed lenses and got close-ups of details.

She also did a live video connecting to all the people at Romantic Homes! That was cool. If you're on Facebook you can watch it on my page. Otherwise, here's the link.

So in the next several posts, I'll try to show you our house as it was staged for the photo shoot.

In our entry, I bought two sweetheart roses for my little wheelbarrow. I just placed the plastic pots in the wheelbarrow and covered them with foliage.  This picture was taken before I staged the French shopping cart.

I got a new camera and I love that it takes a wider shot. Here you can see the entry as it goes into the rest of the house. You're looking straight down a hall and into the kitchen. You can also see how our stairs go up.

Then shortly before Kristen arrived, I took these flowers out of water, wrapped them in craft paper, and put them in my basket.
We played around with this a little bit, staging it in front of the dresser. I think I might have liked just the white flowers better, even though I chose the bright pink, but Kristen really liked the pop of color. The photos are planned for a Spring issue so the colors are appropriate. An umbrella, a rain coat and a loaf of French bread complete the vignette.

I haven't shown you the other end of the room for a while. The clock used to be on this wall. It's now in the living room. (see the last post) And these pictures used to be above the piano.
You can also see my door painted here.

Our baker's rack is still in the other corner.

I'm sorry I didn't get pictures of the whole room. I was just taking pictures while I waited for Kirsten to get here. And if you saw my instagram today you know there's a bike in here waiting for the upcoming birthday party now! And lots of shoes. ;)

We were blessed with beautiful weather! This was the view out our patio door at the end of the room.
As you can see, we haven't had a chance to do anything to our cabana yet. We're still going to try. I'll show you pictures of our whole deck very soon.

Here's sweet Kristen working hard.

I'm at home waiting for our new shower door to be delivered and tomorrow our new slipper tub will arrive. Our son will be here until Tuesday, and on Wednesday the demo on our master bathroom starts!

(Don't tell my family but I was happy to be the one to stay home today and wait for the shower door! Ha!)

I'll try to be back as soon as I can and share the rest of the rooms with you!

love and blessings~
"Behold, I will set your stones in turquoise, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. I will make your summits of rubies and your gates of crystal, and your entire wall of precious stones."

June 19, 2016

Ticking and Toile and a Photo Shoot with Romantic Homes!

Hi Friends!

Sorry to be gone for SO long! There's honestly been so much going on and I just haven't taken the time to blog it. I will try to catch up!

Staci Dumoski, the editor of Romantic Homes magazine, contacted me a couple of months ago and asked if I would be interested in them sending a photographer to our house for a photo shoot. When I quit screaming, I sent back a very dignified, "Yes! Of course!" Ha!

Now I don't know about you but when you think pictures of your home might be in a magazine, you begin to look around with a very critical eye. Staci told me they planned on photographing our entry, living room, dining room, family room, guest room, master bedroom and possibly the kitchen. (I don't think I've ever had all those rooms looking perfect at the same before!)

About that same time, I spotted a fabric that I loved and that always starts the redecorating process.

So we started by finishing the beams in our living room. (See how we built them here.) We had made the one closest to the dining room and I was hoping for another one by the fireplace. My husband has been so sweet! We now have two beams!
Staci requested that the ottoman be back in the living room and the two chairs be in front of the fireplace. That left a bare wall so we moved our grandfather clock into the room and I love it there! It has been in the entry but now it's found a new home. Thanks, Staci!

I made several pillows with the new blue toile and recovered the back of the blue chair (again!) You can see how I do that here.

I love this fabric! The pattern is stitched on ~ not printed. I got both the fabric and the tassel fringe at warehousefabrics.

I also made a couple of pillows out of a blue and white ticking that I got at warehousefabrics.

This little ottoman that's been in the entry got recovered with the new toile fabric too.

For those of you who have been following along, I got all my doors and frames painted. They flow well with the beams and faux rustic wood.  I love the way our new beam looks as you enter the room.
I finally figured out what to do with my little blue and white stand. I got all three of these pieces; the stand, the bowl and the topiary frame, at HomeGoods. This is my new favorite thing! Wait. Maybe my beams are my new favorite thing...or the toile...
Our photo shoot is Tuesday. I'll take lots of pictures of the photographer taking lots of pictures and post them.  I'll also be posting them on instagram.

My son arrives from Boston the evening of the photo shoot and is staying with us for a week. During that week, we'll be celebrating two of our grandchildren's birthdays! Rhynn will be four and Lucas will be one! There's a BIG party in the works! :)

Then before our son leaves, the contractors will be arriving to start the demo on our master bathroom!

So my brain is in a bit of a whirl and I'm a little tired. I'll be cleaning madly tomorrow and running around picking up fresh flowers and a few other little things for the photo shoot.

I'll be back soon to show you the new slipcovers and seat covers I made out of the same ticking and toile in the dining room and the other changes I made for Romantic Homes.

Thanks to the thoughtful ladies that sent me emails and messages checking on me during my absence. You made me feel so loved! I am so blessed.

Love and blessings~

"Behold, I will set your stones in turquoise, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. I will make your summits of rubies and your gates of crystal, and your entire wall of precious stones."