Monday, October 26, 2015

Do it yourself: Burlap Canvas Art

What a beautiful weekend we just finished. {Happy Monday, by the way!} My husband and I, along with our youth leader crew headed to a leaders conference just outside of Chicago this past Thursday through Saturday afternoon. I'm a sucker for those cute towns with sidewalk shops and old churches on every corner - so pretty! And of course the air was cool and the big colorful trees just completed it for me. If you ever get to visit Evanston, Illinois, do it. Our group attended the Rooted Conference, a branch of TGC. Made and modeled for those working with teens. It was a great time and everyone had some great take-aways. Isn't this a fantastic looking group?! We have some of the best people who work so hard to love on and lead teens. I'm thankful for them more then words can express, really.

But that is not what this post is about. :)

I hinted in my last post about the DIY burlap canvas I was working on. It's finished and today I'll give you a little step by step so you can try your own. Or, be like me and take what you like about it and then do your own thing.

The backstory:
I'm a big fan of burlap - every itchy, beautiful thing about it. It's easy to use, can be dainty or rustic, and the neutral color works well with most decor. While it's usually pretty affordable - the kind that is stretched across, canvas style, is not. You can plan to spend upwards of $15-$25 for a good burlap canvas. Just the canvas. Enter my FIND at Michaels the other day. I found TWO of these beaut's marked down to $4.99 in the back, scary, clearance section of the store. They were originally marked at $15!

There were a few ideas I'd had about to do with them, when I remembered this little pretty I pinned on pinterest a few days earlier. This Etsy shop sells the most beautiful and simple things. I loved the old hymn quotes, etc. But... I can't spend the money to have someone make it for me. Not right now. :) So I wondered if I could just whip something up myself.

(By the way, I'm a big supporter of Etsy's everywhere! 
If you can support an Etsy crafter WAY TO GO!)

So I took some time and chatted with my hubby about what we might like to look at daily. :) We agreed on a phrase from the hymn, Come Thou Fount.  So here we go! 

Step 1: 
(You can skip this if you are the confident type)
Lay out your canvas and draw an idea of how you want it to look on the plastic, first. This was really helpful to me as I was figuring out spacing while free-handing. Eeeek!

Step 2: 
Choose your paint! 
I love, love, love this Behr color "Cottage White". It's just a normal creamy white and I've used it in many rooms of my home. You'll also need a paintbrush - whatever you have is fine. I would recommend a wider one though to make broad strokes.

Step 3: 
Make your paint strokes. Working from a diagonal - brush left to right, repeat. Cover as little or as much of the canvas as you prefer. You may have to do a few layers as it soaks into the canvas a bit. Just eye it and DON'T obsess about being perfect. Also, as you can see - and much to the chagrin of my husband - I often just get right to work on the living room floor. Might I recommend putting newspaper underneath?

Step 4: 
Once you have your desired amount of paint, give it a few hours or even a day to let it fully dry. Mine took a nap time - 2 hours. I was kinda in a hurry. Check on it a few times to make sure it's not absorbing and needs more. Really though, mine didn't need much help.

Step 5: 
Pencil or use a small point sharpie and write on your words. Then go over it with paint, using a tiny paintbrush. Michael's sells these - I used one of my kids paint by number brushes. :) Winning!
For some of you who may stress out about this whole free handing idea... I'd encourage you to remember the beauty in imperfection. And I'd also remind you that stencils are available at most crafty type stores. {grin} I looked up font ideas and then just winged it. It's not perfect, but it's me! I'm getting pretty good at copy-catting.

Once it's dry - hang that baby up! Yep, go ahead. Make a nail hole and hang it up. Bless your family with some good ol' truth to read day after day. I know I need this reminder! Oh how our hearts need reminding!

The lighting in my front room is very low in the evenings, but, you can get the point. Someday I'd love to set this on a shelf with some greenery next to it. But for now, it's hanging out on the wall behind my reading chair and it's a pretty addition to the room.

That's it! Super easy, affordable, and pretty. I paid $4.99 for two of these canvasses and had everything else on hand. Now what to do with the second canvas...

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to see what you come up with! Happy crafting!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Some beauty - Some crazy.

It's the weekend! And if you live in Iowa it's 55 degrees, sunny, and pure beauty. I read online somewhere that the state of Iowa leaves will peak within the next week - and the sights to behold are stunning! Our big back yard tree is starting to turn yellow and I love how it slowly sheds them. We could probably have leaves for the next month still. Beautiful!

Currently, my favorite thing is to wake up in the morning, grab my hot coffee and walk onto the deck and breathe. The sun is up later, the air is reeeeeally crisp and everything is just giving that last beautiful sigh before winter. Try it!

Today on the blog I'm happy to share some other things in my life that are beautiful, my kids. We had an opportunity a few weeks back to try a new photographer and her location was just perfect for my girls. It was a field of yellow flowers in the middle of nowhere!  They loved it, we loved it, and it went so smoothly. So I'll share them first!

My super sweet 4 year old.

15 months, 6 and 4. :)
This one here is special to my heart and I'm very glad I was "talked" into it. You see, I wasn't planning on being photographed this year. Thus the mom bun, flip flops and baggedy clothes choice. We had planned on just getting pics of the girls. But our photographer wanted to capture the moment and she was right, of course. This is who we are :) Mom bun and all.
15 month old whippersnapper :)
and my biggest girl -
My precious 6 year old
Aren't they incredible? :)
I can't wait to get some printed and on the walls.

Speaking of walls.

Next up in the beauty department is a little diy/crafty type project I'm working on. I'm going to do an entire post about it once I finish - but here's a sneak peek.
I found my idea on Pinterest and after pricing some of what I loved on Etsy, decided to just make my own. I'm all about paying those workers their due for what they create, but if you can make it yourself... I say go for it! We'll see if mine turns out how I see it in my head. :) Stay tuned. I'm sure you aren't surprised that it involves burlap and paint. At this point that's just how I roll.
I also found a real, vintage, black metal rolling cart on the curb this week and I'm trying to redo that thing. It's a crafty time around here. Maybe I'll throw those two into one post. Or maybe I'll tease you with knowing I have them and never get around to finishing either. Chances are 50/50 right now. :)

And now the crazy:
Our yard. Bless it's heart. We are so thankful for the SPACE we have out there. We inherited one of those Rainbow play places so the kids can play, we have a shed for storage, a large deck, great landscaping and flowers... and two years ago it looked fantastic. ;) Time has worn on and it's showing up back there. The play place has rotted boards (sad day!) and I'm almost convinced we'll have to tear it down after this winters snow. I'm surveying my wood saavy friends to find out. The deck will need re-stained in the spring and a few planks here and there need some new screws. The landscaping is just sad - after 1 summer pregnant, and the next with a newborn it has been neglected a bit and taken over by vines and what not. Though I will tell you that I rescued my rose bush! And our lillies faithfully bloom. Before frost I'll toss my mums into a new spot back there and hopefully we'll have those from here on out, too.

Our plan before the snow comes is to create a fire pit/hang out space in the back yard. Back by our shed we have already gone to work ripping out trees and planning. I even drew up a little firepit blueprint. Here's our progress on the clear out. Keep in mind this entire landscaped area was full of weird scrawny trees. Thanks to our neighbor and his chainsaw we are on our way!

I'd like to rip up all the edging pavers you see in this picture, and turn the entire corner into our space.

So, hopefully, when we finish you will look at the corner of the yard from this angle and see the fire pit area. :) We'll more then likely cut down the massive branch above this space so we don't catch our tree on fire. It looks saggier to me anyway. As you can see I'm still trimming and burning. Have I mentioned how great it is to live in a township that allows back yard burning!? Pyro's unite! I kinda wanted to paint the shed to look like a mini-barn...thankfully my husband put the squash on that. One crazy at a time! My MAIN goal is to try and reuse what we already have and spend little to none. I'm realizing we'll already need things like pea gravel, etc. to keep things safe. Worth it! I'm dreaming of making it pretty and having a great space to come together. I've pinned a few ideas on pinterest - here's what I'm envisioning:

The person who thought of this is a genius!
So there you have it. Some beauty and some crazy. We sure keep things busy around here. :) Wishing you a wonderful fall weekend, friends. Until next time... :)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

.:Autumn Afternoons:.

Despite the temp's reaching back into the 70's and even 80's this week... {bleh} We are enjoying a beautiful autumn. Oh how I love it! Neighbors trees have dropped golden leaves in our yard, I was gifted two beautiful RED mums for my front step, and we picked up our first pumpkin! The colors, the smells, the feel of it all never fails to capture my attention.

It's a laid back Saturday here in Iowa and I've been able to really focus in on enjoying my family and our home. These no-where-to-go Saturdays are small treasures to me. Piddling around in the kitchen, making crafts with the kids, extra baby snuggles - it's all wonderful and most days we are so busy it's easy to miss those moments. Even now as my two youngest sleep it's calm and sunny and watching the trees sway and lose their leaves is perfect! Of course the mug of hot cider was a bonus as well :)

Autumn really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Tonight we'll have some Creamy chicken wild rice soup - my first attempt. It's been simmering away in the crock pot since early this morning and the house smells heavenly. I'm sharing the recipe today because it's SUPER easy, pretty inexpensive to make and I'm hoping will be a crowd pleaser as my kids love rice, chicken and veggies.

What you'll need:
1 c. uncooked wild rice (I'm using aldi's rice blends - red, white, basmati and wild)
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 c chopped onions
3/4 c chopped celery
3/4 c chopped carrots
4-5 cloves minced garlic
2 bay leaves
6 c low sodium chicken broth
2 c water
2 T poultry seasoning** (keep reading down below)
3 T butter
2 T olive oil
1/2 c flour
2 c milk
salt & pepper to taste
You aren't supposed to peek, but I can't help it!
Before I include the link to the instructions let me touch on the seasonings. This summer I found this gem in the grocery store and have been using it for so many things. It's awesome in soups, on burgers, ground turkey, etc. So instead of buying poultry seasoning I'm using it. Cavenders! It's salt free, too! 

I found this soup recipe on Little Spice Jar's site. It's super cute and she has some great things there! Go check it out here. Her food photography alone will have you drooling :)

As we get deeper into the autumn season our schedules are full. This year we let our oldest take part in the one day cheer clinic our local high school offers. She practiced one day after school and then the next week she and her little cheer friends performed at the football game. It was cute. My hubby was out of town so it was just me and my three little girls - which, was insane. But we survived and have some cute memories to boot.

These girls are such a gift. Some days they really drive me bonkers but then we have precious new mercies the next day. I'm so thankful for all three of them!

Happy Saturday friends! I hope you have a good one, a calm one, full of warm soup and family and all the wonderful things that make this season so special.
My grandma's soup mugs passed down to me :)

Friday, October 2, 2015

There is so much to be thankful for.

As October opened up yesterday I spent a few minutes on my front steps sipping my coffee. It was much cooler then it has been, the sun was slowly making its way up behind our neighbors house, and I could see my breath. Without question this is my favorite time of year. It's the season where, more then others, I find myself lingering. One more glimpse of a sunrise, one more second watching the squirrels in the yard, one more glimpse of that yellowing tree. Life comes alive as the seasons change and I am so thankful for Autumn. There is so much to behold.

In scripture we can read over and over all the passages that talk about giving thanks. This time of year lends to extra thought there as we prepare for Thanksgiving and holidays. It's on our mind. I jotted 1 Thessalonians 5:18 down on my mini chalkboard so I could try and have it on my mind daily. The Lord has done some wonderful things in our life this week and I'm happy to share it with you. In all things we give thanks! The good days and on the bad ones.

Yesterday I stopped by a friends house to pick up a bag of kid clothes. The generosity of people just giving away their kids used clothing blows my mind! I've had to buy very little for my own kids because we are blessed by these great hand me downs. The Lord provides for us in the area often and I am so grateful! Winter coats and boots were a part of this bag and it's exactly what we needed! My girls love ripping open the bags and sorting through whats inside. August, my 4 year old, tried on every coat and jacket proudly shouting, "I love this one!". Such a joy! Give thanks!
While she dug through her new clothes I noticed a card that fell out. I don't want to steal the blessing from this friend but I do want to share why it matters SO much to me. The back story is - our budget has been trimmed immensely this month (and until December) as we pay for my husbands seminary class. There is little to no wiggle room and as far as fun fall extras go, there won't be many. I totally support my husband and his pursuit of his higher degree, 100%, but it does make things feel a little dry at times. I've had to pray and give this over to the Lord many times. So far we've made it through September and I've only pouted a few times about not being able to buy fancy fall coffees. :)
{My splurge} Insignificant, I know. But I really enjoy them and I do find that they add to my joy of fall. Also, who doesn't love pumpkin everything even in coffee?!!?

So, as I opened the card and read the words - I cried. It was EXACTLY what I needed at that moment in my life and the Lord knew it. He always knows! But it wasn't just the coffee card - it was the heart behind it. This already generous friend, who I should be thanking and giving coffee to... was gifting me! It's a busy time in our ministry lives and her appreciation was a blessing to me. Give thanks!

On our way home from picking up the clothes I noticed a curb full of solid wood furniture. For a few months I've been debating what to do with our dining room table. It's coated with glitter and glue and really just looks ragged. We've talked about painting it or staining it or doing something. Right now it's covered in a cute fall table cloth. I saw a nice looking table so we stopped to check it out. It looked like the Duncan Phyfe table I had drooled over on Craigslist! Upon closer inspection, it may not be the real deal - but, it's beautiful! I loaded that beast in my mini van all by myself and back on the road we went! I'm not sure if we'll use it as a dining table after all, knowing how my kids lean and push on our current table. But, I do NEED a laundry table and I do LOVE how pretty this table is! Plus, it was FREE! Give thanks!

So this morning I'm thinking and remembering all the Lord has provided - and I just mention these few fun things, but He has done much more. And not even just "stuff" but in relationships and conversations. We've had a fantastic first two weeks of youth ministry and our adult cell group ministry that meets in our home. The Lord has changed my heart in many ways in how I view people, their hearts and what our deepest need is. It seems the constant theme of every message I'm hearing recently is about loving people, struggling with them, and being the body together. It's been great! And busy.
My home looks like we've been busy. And we'll just keep on serving the Lord and living this crazy good life together.

October holds many good things for our family. I'm eager to see how the Lord holds us and guides us! We have a lot on the calendar and I'm looking forward to every single thing!
Give thanks! There is always so much to be thankful for!