DIY Built-In Bookshelf and Desk {Thoughtful Thursday}

Originally, I just wanted something in this awkward corner of my living room. It's the only thing in the room that causes it not to be completely square. This little joint out is created by the master closet and it's kinds fun, adding a little character to the room. Every week when our small group would come to our house, it bothered several friends. "What are you gonna put on that wall?" Ya know, since the rest of the room was covered in pictures and such.

Thoughtful Thursday

Here was my attempt to decorate this space. A cute dresser friends gave me and I painted, my awesome clock I'd been ogling and my hubs got me fr Christmas, and some other random decor items I had around the house. It worked for a while but seemed so minimalism compared to the height of the room and the scale of everything else in the room.  

I always loved the built-in shelves I've seen on Pinterest. But this wall is 12' tall and about 5' wide. I wasn't sure my hubs would be up for such a *big* change. I proposed the idea and when he didn't totally hate the idea, I sketched out what I was thinking and showed him several image ideas on Pinterest. 

At the end of the summer last year, I suggested maybe it could be my birthday present. He agreed 😀

A friend of ours visited from out of town and agreed to help Matt build my monstrosity over the weekend he was staying with us. Eek

There were a couple things that came up throwing a wrench in my plans but we worked around them. The main one was the carpet. We have hardwoods in our living room but the former owner chose to put carpet down with with a tack strip and a one foot of hardwoods showing around the entire room. We had never taken up carpet and discovered the take strip was installed with huge nails leaving big holes in the floor. We weren't ready to deal with holes in the floor every few inches so we chose to build the shelve up to the height of the baseboard. We added [mostly decorative] feet to the front of the shelf that we had intended to use on the bottom of the girls' dresser

In my mind I worked from the top shelves down. I knew I wanted bookshelves up top. Then I wanted a desk-like space for our printer and working on homeschool or other stuff. Below that, I wanted plenty of space to store paper, our laminater, and larger items like completed scrapbooks. Just recently, I caved and bought a cardboard paper divider to keep them sorted and from getting all torn up in a basket. Ideally, I wanted a wooden divider but I was never going to pay for one. After lots of finagling, the cardboard one fit perfect and does a perfect job. 

Yes, I chose to sort our books by color. Most of these books are on the same or very similar topics and have already been read or are only used for reference. Plus, I like color and makes the shelves more decorative since I ended up with more books to fill it than first expected and less room for other cutesy things. 

built in book shelf desk paper divider

A year later, having never posted the original post, I'm still loving this built-in. It adds a decorative aspect to this otherwise odd corner of the living room, stores all our book that would be in the attic if not here, makes them easy to read and or lend, makes printing, laminating, and working on things in general so much more practical.

Recently, I gave up on finding an affordable wooden paper divider the size I wanted and went ahead and bought a cardboard one from Target. With 15 slots, it has enough space for the kids construction paper as well as my printer paper, card-stock, and laminate sheets.

I am a huge fan of when norms are thrown to the wind, thinking up what could make life easier, and doing what works for your family. This giant shelf may not be everyone's design dream but it works so well for us!

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DIY Deck Curtains: What You’ll Want to Know {Thoughtful Thursday}

About a year ago I made over our back deck. Our deck is a great size but we weren't utilizing it well.

Thoughtful Thursday

Along with redoing an old bakers rack to use as toy storage and a gross looking outdoor table, I also decided I wanted to make some of the awesome curtains outdoor curtains everyone was pinning. You know the ones: drop cloths, pvc pipe, and clip hooks. I went to town, collected all my supplies, and got to work {with the help of my taller and wiser hubs}. I even took tons of pictures with the intent to share them with you because they were super easy to make! ...except apparently I never did. hehe

Well, in short, I still love the curtains. Or at least the idea of them and how I've recently adapted them to work better for our family.

DIY Outdoor Curtains what you'll want to know, a year later

Now for the longer explanation.

Supplies:

  • 4 khaki drop cloths
  • 4 packs of curtain rings with hooks
  • Rope
  • PVC pipe {I used really small/cheap pipe}
  • Pipe caps
  • Bracket pieces {choose based on size of pipe- it will likely be on the same aisle}
  • Screws
  • Nuts
  • Drill
  • Scotch guard spray*

Installation:

  1. All the tutorials made it seem easy to just cut the pvc pipe, slide on the curtain hooks, hang with something, and clip on the drop cloths. Expect. No.
  2. The cutting itself was easy but the length I needed meant that the skinny/cheap pipes I bought ended up having these widened pieces on them because I had to add another piece to make it long enough. No big deal.
  3. Except the loops on my curtain hooks weren't large enough to make it over that piece. I had to be super strategic about which side I put how many rings. I wanted to be able to pull the curtains closed to block the sun but I also wanted to be able to pull them all the way open to be decorative or let their be more air flow.
  4. Then the hooks were too big to slide easily and would get snagged on the ditch parts of the siding where I was having to hang the pipe around the top of my deck.
  5. Screwing the U brackets in wasn't super easy either. It is hollow behind the siding making it cave in when you press the drill down trying to create the hole for the screw or pressing in the screw.
  6. We used 3 brackets on each side attempting to keep it from sagging.
  7. We did a quick-fix and added a bolt behind the brackets making the rod set further from the wall to help with the snagging problem.
  8. My drop cloths were a little too long between the combination of where I could install the rod and the hanging down clips so I had to finagle them over and over again to fold over some of the curtain to raise them slightly. I would lay them out on the floor, fold them while measuring to make sure they were straight, space the hooks evenly, and then thread the pipe through, trying to remember how many rings when on each side of the pipe bulge.
  9. We did the same thing on the east and west side of the deck and left the south side open- allowed us to see the yard more easily when the kids were playing, the sun didn't really come onto the deck from that direction, and trying to figure out how to do that one was really hard with the stairs to the off-centered right side.
  10. Simple pipe caps will keep bugs from getting in your pipes and/or making nests in them.

DIY Outdoor Curtains what you'll want to know DIY Outdoor Curtains

Observations:

  • Over the first few months we learned a lot about those idealistic curtains that no one told you in their tutorials...
  • They don't stay clean
  • They're hard to take up and down to wash
  • They sag. Adding more brackets was the first answer I came up with but that creates problems again, opening and closing them easily.
  • They fly in the breeze, not blocking the sun
  • They get hooked on the roof/in the gutters in strong wind/rough weather
  • If you tie them back so they don't fly away in rough weather, they mildew {I used scotch guard after taking them down and washing them one time and that helped a little}
  • You can't see your children if you leave them hanging down long past the railing of your deck

After lots of annoyance, I ended up taking them down for nearly 6 months of this last year if not more because I was tiered of asking my husband or risking my own life to fish them off the roof, take them down to wash, re-hang, opening and closing them based on the weather or if I needed to see my kids playing, etc. When spring hit this year I had forgotten most of the frustration and was okay with not having the pinned version of what I was hoping for. I adapted the curtains to fit our needs.

Changes:

I yanked down the entire rod on the east side. We rarely go into the backyard first thing in the morning and even if we do, the sun isn't that bad

I used all the hooks from that side to reinforce my new plan to have just the west side curtains

I only used the bolts from that side as well and doubled the spacing away from the wall to help the curtains pull open and closed easier

I still used 2 panels on the west side but I spun them on their side and made the long length run horizontally. This helped in a few ways--

  • it left the railing exposed so I could see the kids while they played under the curtains
  • the sun was still blocked during the heat of the day
  • they weren't flying as crazy because the length was almost cut in half
  • it makes the curtains look fuller, with lots of scrunch
  • I can just tie them in the middle and their still cute

DIY Outdoor Curtains issues

I hope this helps you see all the pros and cons about the reality of this project and what its like living with them. 😀

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Jack of Many Trades, Master of None

I think I've shared before about being a whiny junior higher. I vividly remember a conversation with friends where I complained about the travesties of  being ME in 7th grade. I nagged on and on during our choir class because during our voice range testing, I'd been placed as a "second soprano". Ah the days of non-sense drama.

Jack of Many Trades, Master of None

I explained how awful the assignment was. I apparently couldn't sing high enough to be a 1st soprano or low enough to be an alto. This was reassurance of one of my biggest fears: I'm mediocre. I was the middle child. I was in a middle class family. I considered myself not "hot" but not "ugly" and not "fat" but not "skinny". I was average height. I made average grades. I had friends but they were all from different "group" that I wasn't necessarily in.

I was ordinary. 

Okay, maybe a bit extreme but I think some of you might relate. Somehow, made in the image of the amazingly, loving, thoughtful, creative, extraordinary God to simply turn out ordinary. I felt, and often still feel like I'm missing something. My "calling". My "thing". My way to ooze all that God has pour into my creation as a way to shine His glory.

Chewbacca Mamma, Candace Payne described it best when she reassured students {and me} recently when she said, "...sometimes I wake up and feel like a jack of many trades yet master of none."

{you can skip to 7:00 minutes to get to the part I'm talking about}

That "creative buzz" going on constantly; stirring so many ideas and sometimes not allowing for completion before another one takes over sometimes makes me feel like a flake with no follow through. Maybe that's why I'm mundane- my passion shifts?

Then, amidst my devaluing thoughts, it occurred to me again and again. Adding up all the seemingly random things I've been involved in up until this part of my life have all been mixed into a casserole. A couple years ago, I would have thought that casserole was The Valley church that my husband and I planted her in central AR. I saw how God mixed in our years of youth ministry that included fundraising, creative/cheap space creation, sexual integrity programs, baby sitting, substitute teaching, community involvement, organizing trips, organizing/renovating/decorating multiple homes, leading volunteers, making videos, starting a blog, utilizing social media outlets, dabbling in graphic design, learning wise financial practices and the list goes on and on. Even living in multiple places around the state has created a large network of support in what we are doing at The Valley.

Let me just say, I will be 32 in a couple months and God's not done with me yet! I have decided I am refusing to let helping planet a church at the age of 28 be my High, life goal, sole purpose in how God wants to use my life. Not even this amazing journey as a foster family is the end-all be-all of what God could use my minuscule life for.

I recently found The Find {budumpbump}.

Listening to the stories in just season 1 made me realize that God prepared those families to through their thirties for what His ultimate plan was for them. They talked about unfulfilled dreams, mastering skills, saving, and then moving when the time was right. I'd even be willing to bet that even what they're doing now is NOT the end and all the things God used to prepare them for now can stand alone as significant in the ripple effect they have in God's plan.

With all that being said, this is me. Today. The day I am pouting once again. Believing the lie that I am ordinary and God might just leave me that way with all my hard head, dark heart, and lazy spirit. Wondering if I should... stick with blogging {I do love writing and rambling}, refinishing furniture {we could benefit from replacing another vehicle}, embark on new endeavors further within the Foster Care system {I do love babies}, finish and attempt to publish the books I've started writing, or so many other random trades I've dabbled in. Waiting for further direction and dreams to play out that I didn't even know I had.

How about you? Have you found your "thing" or are you a wanderer like me?

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FREE Seeds Family Worship TShirt

Purchase Anything From Seeds Family Worship & Get A Free Seeds Family Worship T-Shirt!

Next Tuesday (May 17th) we are launching an entire new line of Seeds clothing for the entire family! This means we need to clear out all of our existing clothing to make room for our new clothing. If you purchase anything from the Seeds store between today and Sunday- we will give you any Seeds T-Shirt FREE!

1. Add product to cart @ the Seeds Store

2. Add Any T-Shirt to cart

3. Use Coupon Code 'FREESHIRT' when checking out

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She Is Priceless | Mercy House Global

As I sit in my well-organized house, wondering when the next life will intersect ours through foster care in my state, I long for the day that my life intersects with the rest of the globe as part of God's bigger story.

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I like being a small part in a bigger story. Knowing I'm a part of something bigger than myself, that it started before me and will carry on long after, and that God is in control on my most hectic days among it all. When I feel like I'm failing at this motherhood, wife-hood, christian-hood thing I need only to be reminded that what ails me is the rockiest of salts in a wound. Not the fine grit salt that gets in the more piercing slivers, lasting long after the application, creating a lifetime of pain and suffering. No no! My salt just rubs across the wound and in reality, just the anticipation that it might hurt is the worst of my agony. I know nothing of real suffering, me in my American dream world.

Today, May 10th might just seem like a random Tuesday to you but today is the day we need to learn about the women of this world who are Priceless. Those God is seeking to be apart of His story. Alongside you and I are women, created by the same Loving God who desires for their lives to be intersected by care. The kind of care that fosters changed-life in the name of Jesus. The kind of care that can only be explained by gracious love that redeems what has been wrecked.

“She Is Priceless” Is A Campaign To Make A Difference In The Lives Of Oppressed Women.

A pearl is a healed wound.  An oyster protects itself from irritation and suffering and the result is a priceless pearl.  The women these 5 organizations support have endured unthinkable suffering in their lives and often feel forgotten.  We are joining together to remind the world that every woman matters.

She Is Priceless.

This is an opportunity to get to know some of the life-changing organizations that are out there to intersect YOUR LIFE.

  1. Choose an organization from the list on this page
  2. Click learn more and donate to the cause of your choice
  3. Grab a free image to share on social media or take a “selfless selfie” with your favorite pearl jewelry and use the hashtag #putonyourpearls
  4. Link back to "She Is Priceless" directly to let people know how they can join the movement.

You may think that buying a bracelet is superficial, fashionable, or selfish but jewelry purchases made from the right place can be THE intersection where God crosses your life with the life of a women in desperate need on the other side of the globe. Not only do purchases like that feed her and her family, they provide sustainable and reputable jobs that bread confidence, creativity, and entrepreneurship that changes their life, their family's life, the community, and eventually our globe shrinks and you're standing hand-in-hand with world changers across God's big story. Think I'm exaggerating? Read more about the "Have Hope" women of Mercy House Global, OR the gazillions of other But God stories from Beauty For Ashes UgandaCaring For KorahJoyCorps, and Freedom Firm.

My #putonyourpearls selfie was taken with a gorgeous Rahab's Rope pearl necklace from Mercy House Global and Fair Trade Friday. I just joined the Earring Of The Month club.

How will you be a part of this day of giving?

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