Friday, February 24, 2017

Right Now | God Is Faithful

What I'm Meditating on: 

Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3
God Is Faithful

I don't feel like I do anything with much consistency. I get up out of bed. That's about it.
Even that I can't manage to do at the same time every day. Sometimes I oversleep and bolt up in a panic, hollering to the kids, "We got to get up, Mommy overslept." I would make a terrible God. Sometimes I make a lousy mom.

God, He is consistent.
He never changes. Always faithful.

The sun rises. Every. Single. Day. Right on schedule. Never running a few minutes late.

And His love is mine! Maybe you need to hear that today.

What I'm Listening To

Your Love is Mind, I Am They

I listened to this song on repeat all the way to work last week. 
I was ugly crying as the reality of this line hit me:

I called Your name, You looked my way, You looked my way

God looks my way?

What I'm Remembering

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

DYI | Emoji Themed Classroom

We have been spending a lot of time at church this year. We have been gradually working our way through the children's spaces, updating as we go. Most of the rooms have lacked much attention in the last twenty years. All the rooms had at least one cabinet from the 70's. No exaggeration. I was around in the 70's, a kid at this church. I remember these cabinets with their orange formica tops. So it was time, past time, for many of these rooms.

Here is the big reveal. This room is about 15' x 15. Not a huge room. It's does double duty. On Sundays it functions as a small group space for some of our 2nd and 3rd graders. Other times it functions as a lounge for our MOPPETS volunteers. So the left side of the room I had limited control of, since it needed to meet the needs of the MOPPETS volunteers. But I think it still worked.

I wanted to start with a blank slate... for me that's grey walls. I got a lot of kickback on that decision. One teacher described my choice as "prison grey" which wasn't what I was going for. I chose grey for three reasons:

1) It works well with just about every other color you can think of;
2) It enables us to change up the colors in a room more frequently with minimal effort and expense;
3) It's calming, which in my book is really important when you have up to eight energetic kids in a relatively small room.

But I get it, we need color too!

I designed the artwork in the room. I got the giant poster printed at Nations Photo Lab. They did a fantastic job. They were fast, extremely reasonable, and the quality far exceeded what I expected for the great price. The black frame was $20 from Wal-mart.

The fun yellow floating shelves were from IKEA. Who doesn't love IKEA? They were about $10 each.

The verse posters on the wall were a DYI project. I designed the posters (11x17) and printed them in-house on the church printer. I mounted them to foam board cut to size. Then I attached them to the wall using Command velcro. That was brilliant, in my opinion. Super easy to change them out... simply re-wrap the foam board when we are ready for some new verses and/or artwork and reattach to the wall.

I don't love bulletin boards and white boards and try to get rid of them whenever possible. But this one is used by the Sunday School class that uses the room one month a year, so it was something they really wanted to keep. So we livened it up with some fun lights I got at for $5 on a flash sale.

I had to use cut vinyl somewhere in the room. Pinterest had this clever idea that I lifted. Great conversation starter with kids too!

My favorite thing in the room was by far the yellow chevron-style arrows. Love. Love. Love. It was made from salvaged materials. The only thing purchased for the project were the pocket screws. It was also my first opportunity to work with power tools, which explains my excitement!

Here are the cut salvaged pallet boards.

I took a rag, dipped it in old paint (literally, I think the paint was about 6-7+ years old) and rubbed it on to get an almost "stained" effect. I love how that turned out.

Now here is a little reality check. Not everything works out the first time.

Did you notice the thin white lines on one of the walls? I saw a wall I fell in love will online and it looked so easy. She even used white and yellow and I thought, I can do that.

Umm. Well. I got started with my white paint pen, yard stick, and level. And it seemed like it was going great.

I love the white lines. I even liked the arrows. But I knew I needed color.

Out came the yellow paint pen. Umm. That didn't work as expected.

Thank goodness I used water based. (Please, please use water based if you try this at home.) I scrubbed that paint off without taking off all the grey paint! And I didn't need to pull out the grey roller!

My next brilliant idea was much worse. Vinyl. It just looked horrid! I hated it. Too much yellow. Not enough white. So I peeled off all that.

Then I just felt stuck. I looked at the room for weeks, literally. All design mojo gone. One night, super late, I stumbled on some really fun emoji vector files and I knew I needed bright emoji artwork to design the room around. So I got thicker white paint pens and went over all the lines two or three times and the result was more of a subtle wallpaper effect.

And now I can say it is my favorite room! So when you get stuck, don't give up!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

DYI Wall to Wall Split Level Bunks

I have been dreaming about these bunks all year.

I scoured pinterest for something that would work well in my girls' room. It's small. I dislike traditional bunk beds. The height can make a room feel smaller. And I don't like the safety bar that seems critical when your child is up that high.

I did find a triple bunk online that sparked an idea. The result was a rough sketch that I handed to my husband with my sweetest smile. He said he thought he could make them. And he did!

I am smitten with these beds. The best thing is that if we ever move they are adjustable, they slide in and out to make them wall to wall if the width of their room changes. That was kind of a happy accident that I hadn't really planned.

To make the room feel individualized to both of them, they were each allowed to utilize a favorite color for their stuff. Mercy picked turquoise and Gracie picked purple. I decided on the shades of those colors, to ensure they worked well with each other. The result was quite pleasant and reflects both of their personalities.

I did a lot of painting. My sweet man does not like to paint and that is something I can do. So the multiple coats were all me.

We probably didn't need this many slats of wood. But I with little ones who like to stand on their bed to put things on the overhead shelf, it is better to be safe than sorry. We assembled both of these pieces in the garage and then assembled the rest in the room.

The man's really crazy long clamps came in handy.

And the man was pretty exhausted when the beds got done, so it only seemed right that he would get to try them out first.

And the girls were super happy with the end result. Gracie loves to be able to be on her knees and chat with her big sister.

I am still in awe that he made them from this little sketch of what I wanted. He's good. I didn't even know about these skills when I married him 13-ish years ago!

Friday, May 13, 2016

DYI | Embroidery Hoop Orbs

What's a girl to do with a tub full of embroidery hoops?

Make orbs  to hang from the ceiling, of course.

I took my current favorite stain, Early American, an old pair of socks and rubber gloves, and some good music and set to work.

Put on the rubber gloves before you put the sock on your hand. The stain seeps right through the sock and will stain your hand if you don't have rubber gloves on underneath. So be sure to wear the rubber gloves. Dip in stain and rub it on the loops. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

After they dry, just put three of them together and hang them. I used fishing line, but they would look fun if you used ribbon or jute too.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Reveal | Sunday School Classroom Remodel #1

Been busy with things other than blogging. But now it's time to show you some of what we have been doing.

The biggest project the last few months has been remodeling a Sunday School classroom at our church. The kids spaces haven't been updated in more than a decade, and it is obvious. Recently our new pastor asked my husband and me to take on updating the rooms, one at a time. It's taking longer than any of us want it to, but we are working our way through.

Step 1: We painted.

My husband's cousin used to paint professionally. I told him I wanted orange paint. The last time someone painted in the room they painted lime green and turquoise and they painted right around the bulletin boards, rather than take them down. So he told me to get white base paint. I said okay. I went to a local home improvement store (won't say where) and told them very specifically to give me WHITE BASE PAINT. Didn't happen. The result? It takes 4-5 coats to cover, instead of just two. Yep, so wasn't happy. But the guys were awesome and kept at it. And it turned out far better than I could have hoped.

Step 2: We made the feature wall. You can see that post here. I loved how it turned out. That was all my dear hubby. I told him what I wanted and he made it happen, on a budget!

Step 3: Build a stage.

A friend got some gigantic pallets for dirt cheap off a swap page. She had some extras she sold me. Score! We used two of them to create a sturdy stage for the front of our large group room. My man constructed this and it nestles right into the wall perfectly.

Then we hit Home Depot and found the most awesome employee who gave us two matching pieces of remnant carpet for 40% off! The kids loved seeing the carpet rolling machine in action, almost as much as my man did. We used the carpet to wrap the stage. Again, my man's cousin came and helped us cover that stage like a professional!

Step 4: Coat racks.

The teachers wanted coat racks and I wanted them to match. So we used the same inexpensive fence boards that we'd used for the feature wall to construct coat hooks. Loved how cool they turned out.

Step 5: Replace the bulletin boards and white boards with something more modern.

I detest the look of bulletin boards and white boards. I am probably a little snotty about it. They do serve a distinct function in traditional Sunday School classrooms. But I dislike how how old-school they look. So we decided to come up with something that was easily taken out of the room when it wasn't being used and was dual purposed (one side is the white board and the other side is the bulletin board). We even reused a bulletin board that we were able to cut down to size.

Step 6: Add dimension.

I wanted something to hang from the ceiling to add a little depth in the room, but avoid the look of clutter. We had more than fifty old embroidery hoops in the children's resource room, so I stained them and created these floating orbs by hanging them from fishing line. I love how they turned out.

Step 7: Corrugated metal wainscoting.

This actually happened a little earlier in the process. I can't believe I don't have any pictures of the process. We put put the corrugated metal on the wall to add texture and dimension, but also for a practical purpose. We have a MOPPETS group of 4 and 5 year olds who use the room twice a month and they had these cubbies that were taking up a ton of floor space just for their artwork. We decided to come up with a different solution that could eliminate the cubbies altogether. We now use magnetic clips that stick to the metal. It looks tons cleaner and solves the problem of having a place for their craft projects to dry.

The black frame is 24"x36", a Walmart find. The print is an engineer print I designed using one of the kids remember verses. Super inexpensive to print at Staples. The black shelf that holds classroom supplies (like glue sticks and markers) is from IKEA.

Step 8: Something to break up the big orange wall.

Inspired by the bill board scene in the intro to the show About A Boy, I decided to design some posters to plaster on our wall. I picked six of the upcoming lessons in our program and designed some basic, but colorful posters and then printed a bunch. The posters are 11"x17" so I could print them on the in-house printer.

Step 9: Signage

We needed to identify the room. We call the room The Story Room, because it is where the kids gather together to hear the story each week. So I got some cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby on sale. Then I got a can of the metal spray paint and gave them a good coat. I have become good friends with Command Hooks. We used them everywhere, including putting up these letters. We used the velcro version for these super lite letters.

I love this man, my man. He did 90% of the work and he listened to me change my mind and work out what I wanted as we progressed. He is a good man, and good to me. Wouldn't be doing any of this kind of thing without him for sure!

And here it is, in action, being used. That's the point right? Being used. I sure love these kids. Mine is the one in the pink striped skirt. I adore her extra, of course.

I hope you feel a little inspired to go do some updating in your kids ministry spaces.