Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Heart of the Home

You’ve heard it said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is no different at the safe house. The playroom that I have been working on is connected to the kitchen and I’ve observed how it is rarely empty. It is full of tasty smells, playful children, and social women. It is the hub of this busy home and therefore, in my view, in serious need of a makeover. Think poop brown laminate counters, worse for wear cabinets and dirty white walls. You can clearly see our fresh new playroom from the kitchen and it only amplifies the extreme ugliness of the kitchen.

I’ve noted my love for country music before and while listening to my favorite radio station recently I heard about a contest: JRFMs “You Say It, We Pay It”. Basically you tell them why you need the money and they will pay out up to $10,000. Of course it isn’t quite as easy as that. You need to hear your entry read, phone within 9 minutes and 37 seconds, then gain the most votes.

Can you guess what I want the money for? That’s right, a beautiful new kitchen for the house. We have been doing fundraising for our projects at the house but what we raise just barely pays for the materials. A full kitchen reno is way out of our financial scope. However, this contest has me dreaming of a happy, colourful kitchen for these ladies. We have chosen to decorate the other rooms in the house in blues, greens, and violets because in terms of colour psychology, those are the most soothing colours. My interior decorating teacher abhors white so I have been dreaming of kitchens in these cool colours. Here are some of the pics that have me inspired:

turquoise kitchen

tealkitchen

violetkitchen

greenkitchen2

bluekitchen

As my teacher would say, colour me happy…and if you listen to JRFM, please vote for the new kitchen!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Beauty

Thankful: A Playful Change of Pace

I haven’t blogged for a long time. Between sewing a duvet and throw pillows for my baby girl’s big girl bed, falling ill with the “five-day-flu” and starting work on the playroom at Dixon house, life has been busy. It is my work at Dixon house (the safe house I am a part of re-decorating- see “Beauty for the Ravaged Soul Part 1 and Part 2), that brings me back to the keyboard.

The past three years I have spent the majority of my days chasing children around the house. It is difficult, rewarding, and at times, tediously repetitive. However, in this past week, thanks to the child-care given by my wonderful friends and family, I have been able to spend the majority of my time working at the house. Devoting my days to¬† sanding, painting, cleaning and planning has been exhilarating. The hours fly by and at the end of each day I see tangible results. As I’m sure most moms can relate, the results of mothering are often unpredictable and take years to reveal themselves. It is a lovely change.

I am enjoying this change of pace but it also makes me thankful for the life I have. Though laughter rings throughout the hallways of this home, and the women display amazing fortitude, it is hard to forget why these families are in need of a safe house. They have been hurt. I saw this today in a way that broke my heart. When speaking to a sweet 4-year-old girl at the house I moved a bit closer because I couldn’t hear what she was saying. Her reaction was to start in fear and move farther away from me. I don’t want to dwell too deeply on what abuse she may have seen or experienced in the past to cause this reaction (the tears are too close already), but I do want to pause to be thankful. Thankful for my gentle, loving husband, and thankful for the sense of security and safety that he provides for my children and I.

I am also thankful that in some small way I have been given an opportunity to help. I am not a social worker or a psychologist, a therapist or a child care worker, but I can do something for the children at this home. By working to create a playroom which is fresh and bright (and full of new toys to boot), I can help to boost their spirits and give them a place to lay aside the pain of the past and simply enjoy being children. What a gift it is to be a part of making their surroundings more beautiful. I can’t wait until they see it.

I also can’t wait to share the results with you. We are hoping to have all the finishing touches in place by the end of this next week and I’ll be posting some pics of the process and the final product. For now, here is a picture of how it looked before to give you an idea of how badly it needs this makeover:

playroombefore2 playroom before

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family

Where the Heart Lies

For me, writing this blog is an outlet to talk about DIY and decor but also a method of introspection. As Lent began yesterday my thoughts have turned in that direction. I don’t normally give up anything for Lent. Most people give up food or drink and my understanding of it is that you give these things up so that your unmet desire turns your attention towards God.

In a ladies Bible study I attend we have been studying Corinthians and it has drawn my thoughts to the eternal importance of how we choose to live our lives on earth. If we are already Christians, how we choose to live out our faith. On discussing this with the group my mind was instantly drawn to thoughts of deeds. I need to volunteer more. I need to give more money away. But then I realized that that is not where my problem really lies. The biggest obstacle for me in my relationship with God is the occupation of my mind.

I really love interior decorating and crafting. I look around my home and I am constantly seeing a new project. My mind is constantly thinking of ideas on how to beautify my surroundings. I am constantly surfing the internet to look at furniture, accessories and inspirational pictures. Did you notice a key word in the past few sentences: constantly.

The extremist in me says: oh my, I need to give up this interior decorating thing and all the money I planned to spend on decor should be given to the poor. The realist in me, the one who gets to have a say now and then now that my OCD is under control, tells me a different story. My desire to beautify my surroundings is one of the ways I reflect God’s nature (I mean look at how beautiful he made our world) and while I may do well to devote some of my decor budget to a good cause, I needn’t call it quits on all my plans.

So what do I do? My thoughts show me where my heart lies and what I value the most. As a Christian my ultimate focus in life should be following Christ, not decorating my home. I am a Christian yet I rarely read my Bible or pray. While these activities aren’t what ensure my home in Heaven, they are an important part of having a relationship with God and I haven’t left any space in my life, or mind, for them.

I don’t think you are really supposed to share with others if you decide to give something up for Lent but as writing posts for this blog is how I often process my thoughts, bare with me. I’ve decided to step back over the season of Lent. I can’t completely call a time out due to my class work and my project at the transition house but I can hold back in my own home. For me this means redirecting the time I would have spent searching online for the perfect throw blanket or getting quotes for new blinds towards God. It also means not spending money on decor during this season.

Like I said, I don’t normally give anything up for Lent but it seems like a good time to deal with this decoration preoccupation so tally-ho and away I go.

Leave a comment

Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family

Customizing Ikea

I have conflicting opinions about Ikea. A conflict which is fueled by my beloved decorating instructor’s blatant hatred for it and my decorating guru’s (Sarah Richardson) frequent use of it. But one thing I know is that Ikea furniture is everywhere, therefore customizing is necessary for a unique look. The quality may not be the highest but the furniture has good lines and lends itself to customization.

On that note, here are my top ten favorite ideas for customizing Ikea furniture (in no particular order).

1. Application of Overlays from myoverlays.com

(Since everyone and their mother has these expedit bookcases here are a couple examples of how overlays transformed these pieces:

expeditpanel

expeditoverlayFor more great examples of how overlays are used to customize Ikea furniture check out their blog.

2. Paint, new nobs, and other bling:

malmhack

The detail added to these drawers give them a vintage vibe.

The detail added to these drawers gives them a vintage vibe.

Sarah Richardson often spray paints Ikea cabinetry to give her kitchens a custom look:

ikeapaintkitch

3. Stenciling:

stencilikea

For a great how to on how to stencil curtains check out the tutorial on twentysomething

For a great how-to on stencilling curtains check out the tutorial on twentysomething

4. Custom Slip Covers from Bemz (or homemade if you’re handy!)

Karlstad armchair with kirsikka printed cotton cover from Bems.

Karlstad armchair with kirsikka printed cotton cover from Bemz.

What’s not to love about that! Except maybe the cost of shipping it from Latvia…(been there, done that, at least the quality is excellent).

5. Dying White Slip Covers:

It could use an iron but great colour!

It could use an iron but great choice of colour for this ektorp sofa.

6. Adding trim to curtain panels:

It looks like this seamstress added some light weight microsuede to the bottom of these heny rand curtains.

It looks like this seamstress added some light weight microsuede to the bottom of these heny rand curtains.

ikeacurtainwithfringe

This topic will ring a bell if you follow my blog. Check out “Customizing Store Bought Curtains” for more ideas.

7. Creative use of Fabric:

These bins were customized by applying fabric to their fronts.

These bins were customized by applying fabric to their fronts.

Adding fabric o the back of an expedit bookcase

Love the fabric backing on these shelves. I’m considering it for the expedit in my daughter’s room. This would work well with wallpaper too.

I customized this liatorp bookcase in my powder room with new knobs and some fabric to hide the cleaning supplies and linens I hide there (and I know, the blah walls really need to be painted).

I customized this liatorp bookcase in my powder room with new knobs and some fabric to hide the cleaning supplies and linens I store there (and I know, the blah walls really need to be painted).

8. Hack and Stack:

Beer anyone? Oh, expedit, so little money and so many uses. See this link for the how to.

Beer anyone? Oh, expedit, so little money and so many uses. See ikeahackers.net for the instructions as well as many more ikea hacks.

Love this room and their use of the expedit bookshelves.

Love this room and their use of the expedit bookshelves.

Two expedit bookshelves plus one fabulous bench cushion equals and envy worthy playroom (I want that wall paper!)

Two expedit bookshelves plus one fabulous bench cushion equals an envy-worthy playroom.

9. Add some wallpaper:

I know what I'm doing with my kid's table now. I also saw the top of this table painted with chalk paint.

I know what I’m doing with my kid’s table now. I also saw the top of this table painted with chalk paint.

Stunning. Extra wallpaper is also a great idea for lining drawers.

Stunning. Extra wallpaper is also a great idea for lining drawers.

10. Simply Accessorize:

Avoid going Ikea on top of Ikea and get creative with your accessories. Look at the pizazz added to the hemnes daybed below with some cheery pillows and bed linens:

I just bought this bed for my daughter. I've changed out the drawer knobs and the duvet and pillows are in the makes.

I just bought this bed for my daughter. I’ve changed out the drawer knobs and the duvet and pillows are in the makes.

True confessions…net surfing for this post has kinda made me fall in love with Ikea (a creative approach to Ikea that is). I guess the moral of this blog post is that if you can’t afford the fancy stuff, fake it with Ikea!

Leave a comment

Filed under DIY Projects