Monday, September 30, 2013

Pallet Flag

One last summer project --- My pallet flag

I've been stashing this old pallet behind the house for a long time....waiting for just the right time to create a flag. I'm thrilled with how it turned out! It was also super easy to make.

I started with a plain pallet. Just a simple little thing that I happened to stumble upon one day! (Perks of living in a constant construction area!) I love the heftiness of it, but I didn't love the green paint all over the top and bottom. I just used a nasty old paintbrush to brush on some old brown paint-like stuff. (A few years ago, I picked up a random can of brown pain. It's super old and gross, but it does the job when I need it.)

I just wanted a good base and something to cover up the green.

Next came the measuring. I used a very faint pencil line to measure the blue square and the red/while stripes. They didn't end up perfectly spaced, but they are close.

I painted the blue square first and then immediately painted the red stripes. I didn't tape anything off. I wanted this to be more "hand-made" -- nothing perfect or fancy.

I  was definitely not going to free-hand all of those stars!! Holy cow!! I'm crazy, but smart enough to know better than to attempt stars! I dismantled a clearance 4th of July stake and then traced the stars.

White paint for stars and stripes, and this pallet flag was finished!!

I did not try to distress it at all. A short time in this West Texas weather and it will be perfectly distressed! Just the way all you city-folk spend so much time and money trying to create!! ; )

We screwed in into the fence as a backdrop for one of my flower beds. I can't wait for next year when the sunflowers and the canna are still standing proud. Won't it be beautiful?? 
All in all, a pretty good day's work!
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

What I'm Loving Right Now

1. This break from employment has allowed me to spend more time with God!

2. Daily devotions by Proverbs 31, Max Lucado, and Jesus Calling. Each one has offered me peace and a sense of wellness.

3. Friends who have stayed even after the job disappeared.

4. Bright blue skies and cooler temperatures

5. Tubs of decorations: Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving


6. My label maker

7. Washi tape 
8. My sweet Riley
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fibro Update

It's been a while since I've written about my fibro, so I thought I'd give a short update. Bottom line: I feel much better!! Getting away from all that stress really did make a difference.

I don't have the intense pain right now. My left leg doesn't hurt all the time and I can walk much easier. I haven't had the sharp burning or the deep ache in my leg in several months.

I do still have skin sensitivity on both arms and the discomfort/pain varies in intensity. The cold, windy weather is especially hard. It still isn't as bad as it was.

The fingers on my left hand have been hurting quite a bit lately, especially the knuckles on my 3rd and 4th fingers. This is relatively new.

My headaches are much better, although I still attribute that to the Propranalol that I take every night.

Sleeping is still an issue. I LOVE our Sleep Number bed and it has made sleeping a little easier. I have a very hard time falling asleep and then I don't stay asleep more than about 2-3 hours at a time.

The exhaustion is still an issue at times. There are days when I have lots of energy and then there are days when I can hardly move around without getting very tired.

I still deal with "fibro fog", but it doesn't seem to be as much any more. It's more prevalent when I'm tired or feeling stressed.

I still take my Cymbalta and I don't have any plans to stop! It definitely makes a difference in my health!! I've gained about 15 pounds since I first started taking it (but I also stopped counting my Weight Watchers points), but I'll trade a little weight for less pain.

I will always fight depression, but even that has gotten a little better.

The good thing about this break in employment, is that I have received the blessing of time. This time has allowed me to slowly regain my health. I am able to stop and take naps whenever I need to and I don't have the same pressure to "succeed" as I did before. I have started walking several days a week and that helps with so many things. It's hard at times, but it's worth it. I push myself, but just to the right point....I don't want to push too hard and end up paying for it for several days.

I know that one of the hallmarks of fibromyalgia is that it flares up and then there are times when the symptoms aren't as noticeable. All I know is that for whatever reason, I am feeling better now than I have in almost a year. The fibro hasn't gone away....I still hurt and I still struggle with several of the other issues, but I am definitely better and that's what I'm focusing on!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Operation Closet Upgrade - Part 1

We love our walk-around closet. It's one of the main reasons we chose this floorplan. Still, we knew we could improve the functionality with just a few simple projects. The first one we tackled was our matching pegboards.....His for ties and mine for necklaces.

We are thrilled with how they turned out!!

We started with just a plain 4x8 sheet of pegboard. DH cut them down to 3x3 squares.

He cut plain pine strips into a simple frame, mitering the corners. 

A little bit of wood glue, some time in the clamp, and a couple of screws, and we're ready to go!


Love it!!
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Friday, September 20, 2013

I am Healing!

I was reading in bed last night (YES -- an honest-to-goodness real life book! Not a magazine, nothing electronic! An actual, hard-back, turn-the-pages book!) when it suddenly hit me.....

I Am Healing!!!

These last few weeks haven't been easy and they sure weren't like I thought they would be. We never know what our blessings are going to look like, so it's important to keep your eyes open for them all the time. Who knew that even the darkness would contribute to the brightness.

How do I know that I'm healing?? I don't cry at the drop of a hat. I'm not constantly reliving every moment that happened. I feel calmer. I can concentrate better. I feel happier about things and life in general, and I basically just feel more grounded. Both my insides and my outsides feel better and stronger.

My heart is still sad, but I can truthfully say that it isn't "crushed" or "broken" any more. I do still miss all that "it" was, but I have accepted that "it" doesn't exist anymore. "It" was a magical place and time and will always be important to me. "It" was a special season in life and now it's time for a different season.

I'm still working on the complete forgiveness part. I think it's easier to simply move on than it is to consciously forgive. Honestly, when I do think about everything, I am not at the forgiveness point. I can almost say the words, but not quite, and I don't want to say it until I'm ready and it's 1000% true. Yes, I know that forgiveness is really for me and that God requires it. Perhaps I'm closer to this point than I realize.

Does it negate anything if there's still part of me that's wondering when the next shoe will fall? That time before I fall asleep is still the hardest part of the entire day. It's hard to fight that sense of foreboding that things really aren't OK and they aren't over. Inside, I'm still an insecure child that wants to please everyone. It hurts me that I haven't pleased everyone involved. Of course, that's silly and I do understand that. It still doesn't change my feelings....especially in the dark when all the voices and the instant replay comes back!!

So for now, I'm still resting, praying, listening, and working on falling asleep in a peaceful state of mind. I can't promise that I won't have another crash next Wednesday at 9:17 p.m., but I can promise that if that happens, I'll be OK.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Twine and a Bowl

My house doesn't usually reflect the current trends in design. You won't find chevron, or bright gold accents, brightly painted animals, or even the newest pantone colors. Those just seem "too much" for DH and I. We are pretty simple in our design tastes. We like natural items and simple items. I always tell people that I want our home to "Tell Our Story".

One of the trends that HAS caught my attention has been all the twine (or rope, jute, string, etc.) wrapped anything and everything. I love how you can take a very simple container and suddenly it is elevated into something special. This is also a look that can be created for almost no money, and that fits my current budget perfectly!!

Here is just a simple project that I've done. It all started with a bundle of inexpensive twine, a small bowl from the Dollar Tree, and my glue gun.

Some people start wrapping the twine on the top of the item. I knew I only wanted to the twine to go about 1/2 way, so I started on the bottom. I simply ran a line of hot glue and then pressed the twine directly into the glue. Just keep putting glue/twine until you decide when to stop. It's really just that EASY PEASY! 

I needed just that little extra "something" in this small vignette, and this twine bowl worked out perfectly! I couldn't be happier! That was a 10-minutes well spent!  
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Scrapbook Room - The REVEAL!!

I'm ready to reveal to the world -- My Scrapbook Room!!!

Just to refresh your memory, we built our house in December 2011. I knew I wanted my scrapbook room to be in the front of the house so I could look outside while I was working. My hubby and I created this room from scratch, building it just the way I wanted it. YES - I am most definitely spoiled!! Anyway, as with all of our home projects, this one isn't 100% finished, but it's close enough to share. I LOVE it!!!!

Let's take a quick peek around the room first and then I'll open everything and show ya the goods!!

The main unit is on the left wall. You can see more about how we built this unit here and here. I like to stand and sit while I work, so I made sure the counter was standing height. The entire width is 9 feet and I have 6 feet of work space!!! That's a whole-lotta wonderful!!!  

My big front window is immediately in front of the door. This 5-shelf bookcase is to the right of the window and the 3-shelf bookcase is directly in front of my table.


The final wall is a small one - just in between the entrance door and the closet door. I have my eye on a bookcase from Ikea, but that will have to wait for a while. This old baker's rack works fine for now.

Now that you have taken the "grand tour", let's get a little more personal shall we???
                            Don't ya just love getting to look inside? I do!!
I store all of my 12x12 paper in the tall cabinet on the left. I didn't take any close-up shots, but you can see that everything is clearly labeled. Some drawers are for specific projects, some are non-Creative Memories papers, and other drawers are CM papers that are in rainbow order. ('Cause my OCD self won't tolerate anything less!!)

I keep a variety of supplies inside the tall cabinet on the right. Things like floral supplies, simple sewing items, embellishments, die cuts, misc supplies and stickers that are too large for my other system.

I completely forgot to take a picture of what I store in the bottom left cabinet. (Drat -- I'll stay after Blogger School and write "I will remember all of the pictures" 1000 times!) Anyway, I keep my Cricut cartridges, paper packs (the 3 for $10 ones from Michael's), journaling blocks, and scrap paper. See a theme -- all of my paper is basically on the left side of the unit.

The bottom right cabinet holds things like scissors and punches. I also keep my Canon in that blank spot in the top right. That black cord runns from the plug (inside the cabinet) to my Ott light (on the counter top.) We designed the electrical outlets like this on both sides, so I can still use the plugs but you can't see the outlets. (Hubby is very smart!!)

You behaved yourself so well in the cabinets, that I think it's safe to open up the drawers!! Right now, the far left just holds some junk items, so I didn't take that picture.

The second one holds all my pens, just ready for journaling!!

Next drawer is reserved for cutting tools.

Final drawer is for adhesives.
I lined each drawer with cork and used a variety of organizers to keep everything grouped together. I placed everything "just so" because of how easy they are to reach from either the desk or the counter top. Everything is in perfect reach! Easy peasy!

The entire back wall is a pegboard. On the left are my cutting mats and Sharpies. My CM cutting shapes are on the right. Across the top are some of my curling ribbons. At some point, I want to put a curtain across the ribbon, but I haven't found one I want. I'll keep looking.



Whoo Hoo!! That's the main unit. I LOVE it!!! Are you ready to move on??

Let's look at the 5-shelf bookcase by the window. Top shelf holds ribbon -- color coded of course! 

Next shelf is for Xyron and ideas.....books in the middle and loose cards in the basket. 

The third shelf is for stamps, stamp pads, and the old Creative Memories "Thanks to You" sets. I'm still looking for just the "perfect" way to store my ink pads. Right now, they are just on the shelf. I didn't really take a picture of the bottom shelf, but that's where I keep my stickers and items to scrapbook. I put each event (pictures and "stuff") into a clasp envelope and file then by date order. When I'm ready to work, I just grab an envelope and go.

I keep my albums and some specific projects in the 3-shelf bookcase under the gallery wall. I also keep a glass jar with Washi tape, a wooden bowl with baker's twine, and a Longaberger basket with small chalkoards.  
Even with all of this mind-sparking gorgeousness, one of my favorite things about the room is my gallery wall!! I just love getting to look up at some of my very favorite items/memories!!  

Life is GOOD!!
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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Life of "Leisure"

It seems like these last several months have FLOWN by. I have had a LOT going on.....I just haven't wanted to blog about it. The biggest news: I resigned from being a Preschool Director. I LOVED that job and it was unbelievably hard to go, but it was something that I had to do. The church I worked for decided to make some changes and I decided that I wasn't going to be a part of those changes. Trust me, I have LOTS to say about everything that happened, but I'm not. After weeks of crying, processing, and praying, I am going to use my blog to focus on more positive things. My heart does break when I think about not being at that little school and I grieve the loss of those day-to-day relationships. We were a family in the truest sense and I have a physical ache now that it has changed so significantly.

So, what am I doing now??

Praying! Healing! Resting! Thinking!

Gardening! Napping! Cleaning!

It has been an interesting adjustment being at home. For the first week, I could barely get out of bed. I was so upset and hurting so bad that the only time I would get up, was when one of the staff came to the house (which was a lot! No one could believe what was happening!) The second week, I started trying to tackle some projects around the house. My depression was in overdrive so it was hard for me to do anything at all. I struggled with a lot of guilt during those first few weeks. I just felt like I was supposed to be "doing something". I wasn't on "vacation", so I needed to be working on getting a job.

By the third week, I was feeling stronger. I would still cry easily, but I could actually think about something other than the preschool. The calls and visits from staff slowed way down and I spent more time working around the house.

I've now been out of work for 5 full weeks. It hasn't been easy, but it has been worthwhile. I believe that God gave me this time as a blessing - a gift. He is using this time to draw me closer to Him. ALL of the daily devotions I've been reading have been about Healing, Time, Rest, Patience, and Gaining strength in Him. I'm DEFINITELY not perfect and I still struggle with fully releasing everything. I KNOW that He wants me to live - and work - in peace, and He knows I haven't been for quite a while. Sure, I wonder sometimes if He is looking at our earthly calendar and the fact that I have to pay the monthly mortgage and we like to eat!! Even so, I know He has a plan for me. He is preparing me for the next phase in His plan and I am humbled. I am purposely trying to listen and rest during this time so I can be READY when He calls!

So, for now I will:

Praise God in the hallway

until the next door opens!