Painted FABRIC… oh yes!

November 16, 2014

Here is the tale of the ugly bench that is now the darling bench.  I’ve read for many years about painting fabric to re-do furniture.  I finally jumped in with both feet and finished my first of many painted fabric projects. Feast your eyeballs on what I started with… the ugly bench.

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Maroon and orange… who thought up that mess?  I researched many types of mediums to use and this one seemed the most economical and straight forward to mix and use.

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That white bottle is Martha Stewart’s tintable fabric medium. They are $5.99 at Michael’s so use your 50% off coupon! I used two kinds of paint, just because I already had one… the Valspar “Aqua Ocean” sample and the Craft Smart cheap turquoise. The mixture is one part Martha’s medium to two parts paint. I used up two bottles of Martha’s mixture and probably have 1/4 of the paint/medium left over.

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One trick I read that sure worked well was to spray the whole piece once over with water before each coat of paint. It helped the fabric absorb the paint.

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I taped off the wood with masking tape. Not the best results.  Next time I will use blue painter’s tape. Here are the results of one coat of paint:

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After the first coat of yummy turquoise dried over night, I sanded the whole thing with sand paper.  Yes, you read that right.  It turned the crunchy hard fabric back into nice soft fabric. I sanded between each coat after it was thoroughly dried. It took four coats of paint to completely hide the maroon color.

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Here is the half way finished bench in our entry way… the fabric is done, but I still want to paint the wooden arms and legs, but I can’t decide on a color, and people were coming over… so there is sits.  My littlest one is so excited because she asked if one of those baskets could be ONLY hers for her shoes and whatnot… I said yes.

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This makes me happy.

One Step Forward….

November 8, 2014

…Two Steps Back.  That has been my week.

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BEFORE…. please stand by for AFTER.

The walls in our entry, living room, dining room and stairwell have been brown for 9.5 years. I realized I didn’t like the color the DAY we painted it on the blinkin’ walls. A re-do was definitely overdue times 10, so a misty mountain light turquoise color was chosen and has been applied to the x-brown walls…. in two layers, unfortunately. The only area not complete is the stairwell. It’s my nemesis at the moment. I am highly distracted by EVERY other thing possible so I don’t have to conquer the stairwell til I’m ready… like washing windows, shopping for new lamp shades, painting baskets, searching for treasures around the house to move to their new place in the misty mountain terrain.

Monday: Figured out we need DOUBLE the paint amount…bummer. Back to Lowe’s.

Tuesday: Sanded three layers of paint from my darling DIY end tables in an attempt to make them look rustic… and I hate it. Starting over. Need more paint… again. Back to Lowe’s.

Wednesday: Shopping for a bench, couch and ottoman…. came home with three velvet pillows, two turquoise and one orange.

Thursday: In trying to re-hang the curtains, 3 of 8 wall screws with supports were pulled from their resting places, leaving large holes…. filled the holes. Need larger supports and bigger screws. Back to Lowe’s.

Friday: Shopping for a bench, couch and ottoman… came home with two gorgeous lampshades.

Saturday: Climbed up the ladder to clean the dining room hanging light. All cleaned… then I screwed the gigantic light bulb back in and the glass bulb separated from the metal screwing part…. back to Lowe’s.

Some day, hopefully in November, I will share the after pictures of the misty mountain oasis in the Sonoran Desert. The real story would be the daily pictures of me wearing painting clothes and not swearing. Sheesh.

Does God still Speak Today?

October 30, 2014

Almost four years ago, God spoke very plainly to me four times within a half hour through a Christian radio station. Now quit shaking your heads, you naysayers! Read on, and judge for yourselves.

Nora

We accepted an adoption referral for our little Colombian princess on a Friday night in November 2010. We assumed with Colombian courts closing from Dec. 15 – Jan. 15 we would be traveling to get our daughter in the new year. We discovered on Saturday that we could actually complete all the in-country paperwork IF we left for Cali, Colombia in FOUR days. That’s 96 hours, in case that seemed like plenty of time to you. We purchased our plane tickets on Sunday night for the following Wednesday, and then my Dad and I drove seven hours one-way to the Beverly Hills, California Colombian Consulate to obtain our visas.

Late Monday night as I was driving home to Arizona on Highway 10 with my Dad sleeping in the seat beside me, I tuned into a Christian radio station, attempting to get my racing mind off the 2,727 things I had to do in the following 36 hours. I had lots of questions for God. And I wanted answers. There were several loose ends that needed to be securely tied up before we took off on Wednesday morning. It was one of those moments when you are so completely at the end of your rope you plead, “O.K., God, time to show up. We have no other option than You working this out. Please, please, please answer a few questions for me….. NOW! I have been pretty patient for FOUR years… but right now, it’s game time.”

At that moment, feeling feeble and vulnerable before the God of the universe, I looked out the side windows and was surprised that I could see the cacti and sage brush on the sides of the highway in the middle of the night. Craning my neck to find the moon, it was indeed one of the brightest nights I had ever witnessed in my life. Then I recognized the lyrics to the song that was playing by The Afters.

Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me You are with me
I I I can’t deny
No I can’t deny that You are right here with me
You’ve opened my eyes
So I can see You all around me

O.K., Good! was my first thought! I’ve got God’s attention for a nanosecond, I better not waste this opportunity!

Our funding for the adoption was only 2/3 accounted for……TWO days before departure. I sort of lamented to the Lord reminding Him that I had done ALL I knew to do for fundraising. I reminded Him (because He might have forgotten) that He funds what He favors. I had given it my ALL for four years and I had nothing left to give. (Like He didn’t know that either.) I also reminded Him that He promised to complete what He started. Then the song No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts started seeping through the speakers.

I’m running back to Your promises, one more time
Lord that’s all I can hold on to
I’ve got to say this has taken me by surprise
But nothing surprises You

Once again, O.K., Good! I was reassured that God was not surprised by this whirlwind trip to South America. So I brought up our main dilemma …. if we don’t have enough funds for our whole family to stay in Colombia for a month, should we leave the boys behind? Our boys were 12 and 14 at the time. They could have stayed with their Grandparents, but I really felt that this was a family bonding time for all of us. We had until midnight Monday to cancel the boys’ plane tickets. So I asked, “God, do we take the boys or not?” It was Tobymac’s turn to bring God’s answer to me in his song City on Our Knees.

Tonight couldn’t last forever
We are one choice from together
As family
We’re family

Tonight’s the night
For the sinners and the saints
Two worlds collide
In a glorious display
Cuz its all love tonight
When we step across the line
We can sail across the sea

At that point, the tears streamed down my face. Our choice was clearly to stay together as a family. So incredibly awesome! So God was going to show up BIG TIME …. tomorrow, because that was the last day. The 11th hour. It was time. I couldn’t wait to see how this played out!

Right after Tobymac helped us decide to take our boys to Colombia, Matthew West sang to my soul, just for some more reassurance about the whole adoption gig. Here is part of his song My Own Little World.

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose?
That I could be living right now

I don’t wanna miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now

The remainder of the drive home was filled with thankfulness, a grateful heart, humility that we are called to care for one of God’s chosen children, and supreme faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Nora. I was riding higher than a kite on a faith walk that shielded my heart from doubt. I knew God was going to show up tomorrow. I didn’t know how, or through whom, but I KNEW He would.

And He did.

As Plain as the Mud on my Face!

October 27, 2014

Oh! How I wish I had pictures of this great story to share with you, but alas, they are feeble.

Camping. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we really enjoy it. Spending time outside soaking up the smell and sights and sounds of God’s creation is exhilarating to us.Two weeks ago we hooked up with four other families and ventured off to spend four days in the great outdoors. Bliss!

The very first day, several people went hiking, but one other dad (Dad #2) and myself stayed behind to watch the crowd of kids who wanted to take a dip in the creek and swim in the pool. Yes, this campground had a pool. Posh, I realize. The sun was shining, the wind was refraining from tousling our hair and the gurgling of the creek was calling to us.

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Look very closely at the small patch of brick-colored muddy bank on the left side of this picture. It seems harmless. It was not. That was the slipperiest mud on God’s green earth. I told the girls several times, “Be careful! The mud is slippery!” The girls dragged me, my backpack and my folding chair to a place up the creek to a delectable rope swing with four huge knots. To my surprise, all three girls took turns swinging out over the water, but not dropping in as it was a tad chilly. I was standing still in the slippery mud. Then I was lying face down in the awful tasting slippery mud. In between those two events there was a loud scream and involuntary throwing of the backpack and the folding chair. I landed on my knees, my elbows and my face. Lovely. I so wish I had a picture of my mud-caked self. Slowly I stood and started to wipe the mud off my arms and face and spit out the mud and gravel that didn’t taste so yummy.

The kids who I was “watching” and five other boys circled me with mouths a gaping and wide eyes. Mama down. Red Alert! Using my water bottle, one of the boys (a stranger!) slowly poured into my hands so I could “wash” them and then rinse my face. I knew I needed a shower but then one of the other boys yelled, “Your leg is bleeding really badly!” Glancing down, I noticed the front of one shin was muddy brown and the other was bright red. Blood red, to be exact.  A large gash was just starting to pain me in my right knee. We poured some of the bottled water on the cut and then I held it shut with Kleenex, because we all know that Kleenex is sanitary and won’t fall apart or get inside a large gash.

The girls ran to find Dad #2. The boys ran off too, I wasn’t sure where. Slowly I limped up the path, holding my Kleenexed knee. The first campsite I arrived at harbored a full-on 38-foot motor coach, complete with a fancy “camping” lady with large, coiffed blonde hair, a long skinny cigarette, a three carat diamond ring on her manicured tennis-bracelet-ed hand and a newly-shaved white poodle with a green bow on each ear. At first site of a muddy, bloody woman limping out of the jungle she dropped that poor dog, put her smoke on a wood pile (!) and ran for her hose to help me get cleaned up. When asked what I needed I requested a cup of water to rinse and spit several times. The kind lady hosed off my pants, legs and shoes. I remember mentioning her smoking woodpile at some point, and there wasn’t a fire later, so she must have taken care of it.

Some of the boys who had witnessed my downfall returned with their very German father and a very well equipped first aid kit. At this point Dad #2 from our group drove up with the rescue vehicle. I was patched up and put in the car on several of the kind lady’s towels. Five stitches, three x-rays and three hours later, we were back at the campground eating grilled cheese sandwiches.  Easy peasey.

Five stitches. No biggie. I figured it would slow me down for a day or two. I figured incorrectly. An infection set in and my wounded leg turned burning-hot red and swelled up from my knee to my foot. Then I got to go visit another ER! A shot in my backside and some strong antibiotics were administered. I was on the couch for NINE DAYS!  NINE DAYS! Because of some slippery mud! The infection stayed for two weeks, but it finally relented and I could walk again.

So the moral of the story is: don’t cry over slippery mud…. no…. falls well that bends well… no… as plain as the mud on my face…… my way or the mud way….. five stitches in time saves nine?… (I’ll quit now.)

A Little Reminder from God

October 16, 2014

Several months ago our family found out about friends who were in need of some help. Sickness had struck their home with a vengeance and last but not least, the mama was down. RED ALERT! Mama Down! This is not your ordinary mama either. Buckle up. God, the father to the fatherless, called this beautiful lady to foster/adopt six kiddos… and homeschool them….. as a single mama. She takes my breath away.

I met her at homeschool park day when her last two littles were two-month-old twins. It didn’t take much persuading for me to help hold one of those little darling girls. This mama has been on my heart ever since that day. How can we help her?  What can we do to support her in this call from God? We need to be God’s hands and feet for her!

Back to the RED ALERT!, we stepped in for two days and did what we saw needed to be done…. babies bathed, bathrooms cleaned, dishes washed, dirty clothes laundered, meals prepared, games played and stories read. Her children truly are blessings, well behaved, loving and helpful. (Isn’t it every mother’s prayer that her own children are seen in this light!?)

While we were on duty, mama fainted and thankfully I was right next to her. Not that I helped with the descent or the crash landing, but I made sure we went down NOT on hard surfaces or pokey things or gooey stuff. See?  I’m helpful! In directing her away from a wooden shelf, the back of my hand came in contact with a corner of said hard, wooden shelf. My hand was bruised, but the skin was not broken. No big deal.

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(Gosh, my hands look old. When did that happen?)

It’s been three months, maybe four, since that fateful day and the little mark on the back of my hand has not gone away AT ALL. It doesn’t appear to be on it’s way out of my life. It has scarred into a cute, little silvery-pink line. It winks at me every day and whispers to me that I need to pray for that mama. It’s God’s little reminder to me that we all need prayer. He will do what He needs to do to remind us daily to lift up each other to His throne of grace.

Who do you need to pray for today? Just do it! (I stole that from a shoe company.)

Milestone Day at the Homestead

August 13, 2014

My little Colombian princess went to the movies last night with her Daddy.  Bedtime was delayed almost two hours from the usual schedule!  This little girl sleeps 10 1/2 to 11 hours EVERY NIGHT!  It is God’s little gift to ME!  But, as we have experienced, she doesn’t do well with LESS than 10 hours of sleep. Tiredness makes her moody and sassy.  If there’s one thing this mama don’t want is more sass in the house. ‘Nough said.

This year is an adjustment to our whole household as son #2’s band class got moved to first hour at the local high school.  Yes, we still homeschool, but homeschool marching band doesn’t exist so he goes to Wind Ensemble every blinkin’ morning at 7:45.  Last year I had to wake up at 8:15 to get him to second hour band…. this year will be interesting, for sure.

More back story.  Our little princess had a few previous issues with being left alone so we have made sure that she is NEVER by herself… ever. She is 11 years old and very responsible, but we wanted to make sure she always felt safe with us.  This past summer is the first time I left her alone at the house while I took her brothers and their friends up to go swimming… two miles away. She rolled her chocolate eyes at me and assured me that she would be fine by herself with the dogs and chickens.  She was.  When I returned eight minutes later I asked her if she looked out the front window.  “I did! Because I wanted to check if you were really going to leave me or not.”  hahahaha.

Remember the slumbering princess this morning?  Well, I decided to leave her having visions of sugarplums in her head instead of waking her up for the drive to school.  This is the first time I have left her alone without telling her first.  I put this note on the dirty bathroom mirror:

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As I suspected, she didn’t even wake up until 8:55.  But I forgot to take down the note.  DOH! Thankfully I was talking on the phone and she knew I was there before she read the news of my abandoning her.  Whew!  Catastrophe averted.

 

Holy Hockey Stick, Batman!

July 27, 2014

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It’s hard to see, but there are five hockey sticks among our other “sticks”.  This used to be our only holder for hockey sticks in our garage. Not any more.

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These are next to the inside door of the garage… divided by lefties and righties.  I’m not sure why these can’t go in the stick holder shown previously.  But that is not all……

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These are the hockey sticks by the outside garage door……. obviously this is where the goalies sticks go….. but I’m not sure why the others (which are also divided by lefties and righties) can’t go with the others further inside the garage???  It’s all a mystery to me.

The GOOD NEWS is my husband was looking on Craigslist for hockey sticks, because obviously we don’t have enough yet.  And he saw an add for a guy that buys old wooden sticks for making furniture…. get this… $2 each!  He shoots!  He scores!  So the pictures that I’ve shared here are the sticks that are worth MORE than $2 each in my husband’s mind.  He just finished putting about TWENTY sticks in the back of his truck to sell to the hockey stick furniture guy!  I guess this is Spring cleaning… hockey style!  My guess is that half the hockey sticks that were in the garage just left!  Whooo HOoooOooooo!

Did I mention that we live in Phoenix, Arizona?  Not exactly a booming hockey town.

Mother Guilt

July 25, 2014

trophy

If you’re a mother, you get this.  It’s very real.  So real it’s tangible.  Guilt that only mothers can have, get or put on themselves.

Three years ago, I dutifully accompanied the Colombian princess to her first American dental appointment.  After the x-rays and examination, the dentist handed me a sizeable Mother Guilt trophy explaining that her Colombian fillings were of poor quality and ALL needed to be replaced.  She had multiple cavities that would need to be filled immediately and there was so much work necessary that we would have to take her to a pediatric specialist to put her under for the procedures.  He had the nerve to ask if she brushed her teeth.  He meant AT ALL!  If nothing else, my little girl is diligent with personal care tasks.  She is the most regular flosser in our house, I’ll have you know, Mr. 24-year-old not-shaving-yet white coat!!

After listening to his entire money-hungry spiel, I inquired the location of the cavities.  As I suspected, they were all on baby teeth AND they were all minor.  With the referral slip in hand, I slipped out of the office and took the princess home to her father.  Being fully versed in dental procedures and examinations, together her father and I ascertained that the Colombian fillings were just fine and we wiggled all the baby teeth with cavities.  We noticed they all got more wiggly as we took turns wiggling them. Nope, not fixing them.

This is a translation for those who aren’t mothers.

What dentists say: “Your child has cavities.”  What a mother hears: “You are not taking care of your child.”

What dentists say: “There are two types of fillings.” What a mother hears: “There are $250 fillings that good mothers choose, and $75 fillings that bad mothers choose.”

What Dentists say: “Is your child flossing?” What a mother hears: Are you concerned at all about the health of your child?”

What Dentists say: “Is your child brushing after each meal?” What a mother hears: “If you haven’t taught her to BRUSH HER TEETH, what the heck are you doing all day long?”

What Dentists say: “She hasn’t been in for a long time.” What a mother hears: “Why are you a mother at all?”

This entire dental event had me swear off my motherly duties of dental visits.  Period.  I somehow forgot the six month check ups… for two years.  It’s easy to block episodes that cause Mother Guilt.  Finally, after almost all of her baby teeth had fallen out, I made an appointment for her with her FATHER to go back to that horrible place.

Her appointment was this morning at 8:00.  By 9:40 I had not heard from them and was envisioning my little Colombiana strapped in the reclined chair, wearing a bloodied paper bib with tears running down her little cheeks into her ears.  Just then my husband called and relayed that they were at Denny’s having breakfast.  He casually mentioned that she had NO CAVITIES! WHAT?  And I wasn’t there to receive my Mother of the Year trophy!!!  When they got home, she reported that they put fluoride on her teeth and told her not to eat anything for 30 minutes, but that Daddy took her to Denny’s anyway.  Nice!  Father guilt doesn’t even exist!  If her fluoride wore off with a Jr. Grand Slam, it is SOOO not this mama’s fault!

Home Sweet Smelly Home

July 24, 2014

These past two months have FLOWN by in a flurry of celebrations! Three weddings, three graduations, two conventions, four camps, one birthday party and I’m beat.  The six members of our family have only been together for ONE day since June 12, 2014.  That just ain’t right!  I miss all my birdies in the nest at the same time.  Don’t even tell me how many miles we’ve driven since May! Oklahoma and back to Phoenix then to Lake Tahoe and back then to the Bay Area and back.  I flew to my last convention in California, but then drove back AGAIN with a friend.  At this point, one son is still in California but will be home on Sunday.  That will give us two complete weeks together before our eldest daughter goes back to college.

I’m not sure I’m liking this stage of life.  My weary soul just wants a cabin in the woods where the whole family is stuck together to play games and laugh… and no one has to leave for a long long long time.  And I will be there, so we won’t run out of toilet paper.  My family was 27 squares away from wiping with junk mail when I got home on Sunday night!

Three weeks is the longest I was gone and it was about one week too long.  I came home to dead, dead and more dead plants, animals and food in the fridge that should have found its way out of the fridge WEEKS previously. We are sadly down to two chickens.  One died of heart failure after being cornered by our dog.  The other of heat stroke when it was 112*F!  Whew!  I spent an hour one morning going around the yard and pulling out all the dead plants.  Most of them were winter flowers that would have died by 110 degrees anyway…. but it hadn’t been that hot yet. And my family needs smelling salts because their noses had to be numb not to notice the odors emanating from the fridge.

Even the grass is dead.  That’s another long painful story for another long painful time… but I’m seriously looking into fake grass.  It’s always green.  It doesn’t need water.  It looks pretty.  It makes me feel okay about living in the desert… when it doesn’t look like the desert.  I don’t know how to calculate watering the grass costs, but I’m sure in two or three years we would break even with fake grass and then be home free. And I would be happy seeing green.

Never in my ever-loving life have I seen piles of laundry on my kitchen tableThe KITCHEN TABLE! For the love of God and all that’s holy.  What in the world? There was another pile of clothes in between the couch and the coffee table in the family room.  After an inquiry I found that it WAS on the couch but got pushed on the floor and probably isn’t clean any more because the dogs have been sleeping on it.  Probably?

“Things fall apart when I’m gone,” I lamented to my husband in the dark of the night on the backyard swing.  “I’m glad you’re home,” was his thoughtful reply.  Yeah, I’m glad too.

 

Miss. Manners!

June 9, 2014

Standing in Walmart tonight, putting lipstick on my chapped lips, I had a flashback from my high school days.  Our family was out at a restaurant, which was unusual at that time, and had just finished eating.  As always, my mother pulled out her lipstick from her purse along with her mirrored compact and proceeded to re-apply her glossy lips after the meal.  Being somewhat a smart aleck (ahem!), I announced that Miss. Manners says that you shouldn’t apply your lipstick in public.  You should go to the bathroom and do it in the privacy of your own space.  My mother, without missing a beat, replied, “And that’s why she’s still MISS Manners!”

lipstick

HAhahaha!  That’s all I got today.  Where’s my soothing chapstick?


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