Monday, December 12, 2011

I Heart Homemade Gifts!

Last Friday I got an unexpected Christmas treat from my workout buddy Jennifer.  She made bonbons and delivered them wrapped in cellophane, looking too cute to eat, to the whole group.  Made me laugh a little as I indulged that afternoon thinking that A) this came from a workout friend and B) in 6 years as a stay at home mom I've joked several times about spending my afternoons eating bonbons and I was actually doing just that.  They were delish (of course, I gobbled them up before thinking about taking photo) and was reminded once again how much I like homemade Christmas gifts.  Something about the time spent and thought put into homemade gifts makes them extra special.  Here's just a few of my favorites over the past couple of years.

My sister Janelle made this quilt for Abby for her second Christmas.  Still just as beautiful as it was 8 years ago and is on her bed every winter.

When the scarf craze caught on several years ago I jumped on board.  I got the red & gray from my sis-in-law Crystal and purple scalloped one from good friend Amy.  Both are hand crocheted and gorgeous!


Last Christmas my sis-in-law Bobbi Jo gave us cookie mix in a jar X 2.  The cookies were terrific and now every time I drink from the glass drinking jar the mix was in I think of her.

The kids have made me some pretty cool stuff too.  Last year Abby carefully painted, glittered and wrapped her Jesus Shines masterpiece for me.  Honestly one of my favorite gifts last year.  Aidan had some help from dad on his popsicle frame but it came from his heart.

Finally, this year I'm doing the usual gift cards for the kids teachers and bus drivers but adding our own homemade touch.  The gift card holder is an upside down binder clip, covered in Christmas paper and metal clips wrapped in fuzzy yarn.  It holds the gift card and then can be used as a picture or recipe card holder.

Don't get me wrong I like store bought gifts too!  I'll be the first to admit I don't have the time or energy to hand make all the gifts we give this time of year.  So I choose to make what I can and appreciate all that I receive.  Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Learning Experience vs. Failure

Sometimes projects just don't go my way or at least the way I imagined it would go.  It's been a week of those kind of projects but I've decided instead of letting them be failures I'm going to think of them as learning experiences.  To me the difference between a learning experience and failure is whether I give up (failure) or look for a solution and move forward (learning experience)  Here's just a little of what I'm talking about.

Set up our borrowed humongous 10 foot, 800 lights pre-lit artificial tree the day after Thanksgiving and only about half the lights work.  Common problem, right?  Bob fiddled with it and got a few more working but not enough to make it look good.  Got permission from my sister (who owns the tree) to strip the lights and put on our own strands.  We both thought it would be a job but fairly simple and maybe an hour.....

(that's 800 lights about half of a garage trash can)

Both of us working on it for 3 1/2 hours got it done but not without major frustration, questioning why we were doing it and thoughts of cancelling Christmas dancing through our heads. HOWEVER we didn't give up! 

Second example this week, I'm working on a desk for the kids.  Yes, another DESK!  Got it primed twice because it's laminate and the paint needs something to stick to.  Then I picked out a soft gray for the actual paint color.  This week it got two coats of "gray" paint before Bob asked me if I was done priming it.

(example of the primer I put on kids desk because I didn't take a pic)
(two coats of actual paint and several hours later.)
Yep, the paint color is horrible and almost the exact color of the primer.  Funny thing is I knew this after the first coat but convinced myself if I just keep painting the "not gray-gray" would turn gray.  Chemistry was not on my side and it took Bob pointing that our for me to admit it.  Still not a failure though because instead of giving up I poured some black paint into my half used quart of "not gray - gray" and ended up with a decent color.

I'm a work in progress along with my projects and constantly learning or choosing to learn instead of giving up.  It's also a good reminder of how blessed I am when these are my concerns.  I have people all around me facing real difficulties in life.  Struggling spiritually, emotionally and physically.  My prayer is that when faced with real difficulties they can all be used for a learning experience.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Joanie's Junk Part II

I'm back today with even more wonderfulness from Joanie's Junk.  How about I let the pictures speak for themselves?

I wish every window in my house looked like these.

Adorable tree for a small space or even front porch!

Perfect for an entry way.

Any of this in a vintage kitchen would be perfection.

(my mom took home the white washed rocking horse!)

A little twist on the traditional red and green.....

I'm a sucker for white dishes and couldn't get enough of this.

Okay one more of white dishes...

(Warned you I couldn't get enough of them!)

This is the kind of school where I could have been an A student. Yes, the wreath is made out of rolled maps!!

The lady, the's Joanie herself (the only picture of her I could snap was while she was talking to a customer)

Hope you enjoyed all of Joanie's work.  I'm really not getting paid to say any of this I just really love Joanie's shop and have dragged countless friends the hour+ drive just so they can take it all in for themselves.  I hear over and over that it's always worth the trip!  Of course, you have to remove the back seat in the van so you are limited to 4 friends per vehicle but we've had up to 3 vans at once! 

Now I'm dying to go back and soon...who's with me?

Joanie's Junk
Main Street
Morganville, KS
Open Saturdays 10:00-2:00

Monday, November 21, 2011

Joanie's Junk Part I

I got to spend the weekend in one of my favorite places....Clay County, KS.  I grew up there, my family is there and it will always be home.  I could go on and on about the beauty of the country, the quiet and slow pace of life I feel while visiting but this post is actually about my favorite place to shop when I'm home.  If you've read very many posts before I go on and on about Joanie's Junk so today you get to see photos and learn more about Joanie and her AMAZING shop!

Joanie specializes in rustic and refined home furnishings.  She buys furniture and really great junk at auctions, estate sales or any other place she can find potentially beautiful things.  She can take a piece of furniture, most would discard, and turn it into a piece that steals all the attention in your home.

She opened her first shop across from her current location in Morganville, KS seven years ago this month.  Five years ago she bought an old bank building and with the help of her husband Marc turned it into the awesomeness it is today.

This weekend she hosted a Christmas Open House and the place was so amazing.  Everywhere I looked there was a Christmas tree decorated in everything from ice skates to deer antlers.

Joanie had decked out the halls with ornaments, wreaths and lights.

She made this wreath out of sheet music....gorgeous!

Have I mentioned before how much I love black distressed furniture?  That obsession started at Joanie's.....

If I could have loaded up the minivan with all of the goodies I wanted Joanie would have had to keep the kids...sounds fair to me!

(yes, that is my van out the window)

Okay, here is the crazy part I have enough photos to do a whole other post on Joanie's tomorrow...that's how much is in her shop and truly beautiful it all is.  If you haven't already, visit Joanie's Junk on Facebook or even better make the trip out to Morganville, KS to check out her goods.  She is open on Saturdays from 10:00-2:00 however she will be closed this Saturday November 26th (she has a gorgeous family too that deserve some of her time)  Stay tuned for part II tomorrow! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Desk is Done!

I have wanted to say this for a long time but....THE DESK IS DONE!  I'll apologize ahead of time for the length of this post but to say I'm happy is a major understatement!!

At the end of August Bob came home from work one evening and asked if I wanted an old desk one of his co-workers wanted to give away.  They were moving, didn't have room for it in their new home and just wanted someone to take it.  He explained it wasn't in brand new condition but was really heavy and REALLY large because it was a two person desk.  My junk instinct kicked in and I said YES, please bring it here!

A few days later Bob went and got it with the minivan.  It literally filled the entire back of it with all the seats removed.  Bob looked at me and shook his head but I just stood and drooled.

It was beautiful.  It had been well-used so lots of nicks and dings which in my opinion adds to the character.  The most amazing part was it really was a dual desk.  Built for office partners or something so that each had their own drawers and workspace but could look at each other all day long. 

If I had the talent or money I would have invested in restoring the piece to it's original glory but since I don't have either we quickly decided it would have to be painted.  I'm almost ashamed to admit there was a brief conversation about cutting it into two pieces but that craziness ended almost as fast as it started.  It's so unique and just not something everyone has in their home.

Bob did most of the sanding (because he's good at it and I was a little intimidated by the mere size of it to get started)

It got a good coat of oil based primer because we knew we would use it and it had to hold up, at least for awhile, to our family.  Flipping and maneuvering the monster was a challenge but after the first time we figured out how to grip, slide and lift it just right.

Again there was a lot of debate conversation about what color to paint it.  We tossed around white, black and even gray.  Finally settled on black satin.

I did most of the painting because let's face it that's the fun part.  I also sanded the drawers, filled in holes where we removed the original handles then sanded again.  Total learning experience for me but pretty rewarding to say I did it. 

Because of the condition of the desk it was natural to distress it after it was painted.  The already worn corners and nicks were apparent so why not highlight them a little more.  I started in with the sandpaper and as the black rubbed away the tinted gray primer started to show through.  I'll be totally up front with you...I hated it at first.  I was near tears thinking I had completely destroyed what was a beautiful piece of furniture.  The more level headed Bob looked at it and said he liked it, told me to walk away overnight and look again the next day.  The next morning I realized I too really liked the gray showing through the black.  It was kind of industrial looking and gave it even more depth.

We went with a nickel handle and I've got to say the handles are probably one of my favorite parts about how it turned out.  The silver and black combo makes it pretty enough for me and manly enough for Bob.

On October 30th (only 30 days after I said it would be in the basement) Bob and his friend moved it down the stairs into our basement office.  I don't know exactly how just the two of them did it with an appliance dolly since it's large, awkward and weighs over 200 pounds but they did it with it all in tact and no holes in the walls!!

It was a lot of work but we both really like it and the way it changed the whole feel of our office.  We took advantage of clearing the old desk out to also rearrange and hang some new things up on the walls.  The office before felt thrown together.  As usual there are still things to be done in here but for now I'm loving our office, new desk and being able to say IT'S DONE!