Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Things I'm Into This Fall

Fall is just about here in Virginia and somehow the change of seasons seems to naturally enhance the creative juices. Here are some of those and also things I'm into right now... because who doesn't like a fresh idea?!

Let's start with a pine cone garland. I'm a sucker for neutral colors right now, and I love the gray tones of this. I've also seen it spray painted gold if a burst of color is more up your alley. I think a pine cone hunting walk in the woods is needed:

via Mias Interior
pinecone garland, doing this next year!!  :)

And some simple pumpkin frozen yogurt is probably in order:

via babble
Pumpkin Frozen yogurt: 1 Cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 T. Sugar, 1 t. pumpkin pie spice.

And as for literature, my current read-aloud to the kids is called With Two Hands by Rebecca Davis. The beautiful book shares stories of how God has been at work in Ethiopia. We are all really enjoying this exciting read. The chapters are written in a way that captures the kid's attention, and the stories often have me reading with tears welling up. The image will take you to the Amazon link:

Then there's re-purposing old jewelry with embroidery floss. I did this with some bangles and a pair of earrings I never use anymore:

via Creature Comforts
DIY Embroidery Thread Wrapped Earrings

I'm not a fan of the cold weather, but I'll console myself with snugly sweaters:

via Closet Horse

And I'm on a little mission to find a flowy skirt or dress at a thrift store so that I can pair it with a jacket, because fall doesn't always have to mean sweaters:

via 5th Avenue Fashion

We've made and loved these Paleo Churros. Don't be daunted by the overly-long instructions. They are actually quite easy to make: (Cheaters hint: they're delicious sprinkled with a little cinnamon and sugar.)

via ChowStalker
Delicious paleo churros.

I'm basking in the beauty of God's wild love for us after reading the book Everything by Mary DeMuth. My dear girlfriend sent me this. I had never heard of DeMuth before but was quickly captured by the way she opens up the truth of God's love in rich, descriptive, and relational language. This book will have you crying, repenting, and rejoicing:

And I want to find some excuse to create an olive oil bar because, well, just because:

via Style Me Pretty
Olive Oil Bar

Scarves! I am all about them right now. And my favorite is the one from fashionABLE. It is so intricate and well-made and goes with everything:

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Finally, I've been stalking Craig's List for some old crates that I can turn on their side.

via SF Girl By Bay
Flip crates on their sides, nail together, and attach roller wheels...

Now tell me what you're into this fall...

Monday, September 23, 2013

No Ordinary Love

I know it's been a couple of months since we got back from Ethiopia, but I wanted to highlight one more ministry we were able to visit. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin when you want to make a difference. You want to know who you are partnering with and if your money is really being used to do good. That's why I'm telling you about Jimmy and Rachel's ministry called No Ordinary Love. This place stuck out to us because of the sheer amount of difference they are making where God has placed them.

No Ordinary Love has a children's home for kids that have been rescued from child trafficking. While in this home, the children, who have been through horrors most of us can't even begin to image, are provided with a safe haven while they are being rehabilitated and shown God's love. Meanwhile, the ministry searches for the families of these children in hope of reuniting them.

This group also has a community center where they serve impoverished children and the women living with HIV/AIDS in their neighborhood. We arrived on a Saturday to find the place bustling with action.
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Do you see the mattresses in the background of this next picture? On the day we were there, they were passing these out to the families. The mothers literally began jumping up and down when they found out they were going to get to take one home.
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Steven and I had a chance to hear the hearts of Jimmy and Rachel as they shared with us how God has kept the ministry up and running through obstacles. Their faith and love had an effect on both of our hearts.
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Here's where you come in. If the injustice of child trafficking or women ostracized because of AIDS has been heavy on your heart and you want to do something, head over to No Ordinary Love's website HERE and see how you can get involved.

There's nothing like seeing it up close and personal to make you want to dive in to care for the things the Lord cares for.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Girls Only- New York Style

About a month ago, we found out that my little sister had no plans to do anything special for her 30th birthday.  My mom and all the rest of us sisters put our foot down. One simply cannot ring in such a special birthday quietly, at least not in our family. So we concocted a plan: pack all the ladies into a car and head to one of my sister's favorite cities. The fabulous guys in our family released us to have a girls weekend to remember. We had an absolute ball shopping in thrift stores full of name brand goodies ($6 Jason Wu shirt...yes, please), drinking obscene amounts of divine coffee, walking our legs off, exploring side boroughs, giggling as we attempted to annoy each other when the subway cars were packed, and indulging in gluten-free deliciousness at every turn.

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My sewing sis drooling over all the fabric at Mood:
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Gluten free bread sticks and dinner...heaven for food allergy girls:
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I was only willing to drag my heavy camera around for one day; so here are a couple iPhone shots, too.

Me standing in front of the hotel in Times Square where I stayed for my honeymoon over 12 years ago/ Chelsea drool worthy:
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On the Highline:
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Now that's how to ring in three decades.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

School's Baaaack

Whether I want to accept it or not, summer is over. *sob* And we are back to this...

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This means days filled with verbs, George Washington, and fractions for the three oldest, but it also means a lot more quiet play time for the youngest. And while some days it looks like sweet little mommy feeding time...

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...other days it looks like a tiny maniac repeatedly dive bombing from the coffee table into my lap in the middle of Literature.

Just keeping it real.

Friday, September 6, 2013

DIY Pallet Art

This year I took Labor Day a little more literally and spent the weekend laboring to finally work on re-doing our guest bedroom (which happens to currently be my sister's bedroom as we have the privilege of her presence while she attends college). While my husband kept the kids occupied with some last trips to the pool, my sister and I gabbed and painted and gabbed some more until we were giddy and high on paint fumes.

I wanted to put at least one piece of art on the wall. One of my preferences is to use art that has some meaning to our family. Usually this means something like framing a verse my grandmother wrote out; putting up old family calling cards; displaying a couple pages from my great, great grandfather's diary; or of course, filling the walls with photos. But for this room, I had the urge to get the meaning from making some art. I knew I wanted it to be a eclectic piece to balance out the soft cream and gray colors we used in the room.

This project turned out to be surprisingly simple; so as a current DIY addict, I thought I'd share it with you to inspire your own art.

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I started with a pile of pallet wood pieces and a slab of 3/4" thick plywood that was slightly smaller than what I wanted the final piece to be.
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I used a miter saw and measuring tape to put the pallet pieces together like a puzzle.
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I made sure to have about 1 1/2" overlay so that the plywood would not be visible when everything was completed and hung.
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Then I simply used Gorilla wood glue on the back of each piece of wood to secure it. I made sure to use some heavy object to hold it in place while it dried overnight.
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For a really rustic look, you could simply the leave the pallet wood as-is, but for this project I decided to white wash the wood. I chose to white wash instead of fully paint so that the grain and details of the wood would still show through. I used four parts water to one part Annie Sloan's chalk paint in Old White (but any other paint that would mix with water should work.)
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I found a free template for a vintage bike and printed it up. If you're not feeling adventurous, you could also just print up some large wording that you would want to display.
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I flipped the paper over and covered it in charcoal. I simply used a piece of charred wood we had left over in our fire-pit to do the job.
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After that I flipped the paper back over and positioned the image exactly where I wanted it. Then I began to trace the major parts by firmly drawing over it with a pencil.
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The end result was an outline for me to follow courtesy the charcoal.
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Finally, I took a Sharpie and drew over the charcoal guidelines. Yes, it was that simple.
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And viola...
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I simply attached hanging hardware to the back and made sure I used drywall anchors so that the wall could handle the weight of the wood.

Because I already had the pallet wood and paint, this project was the cost of the plywood piece, Sharpie, glue, and hanging hardware. Simple, cheap, and yet personal art.
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Happy Friday, y'all.