5 Friday Finds: Easy Decor Updates, What I’m Reading and Listening To

1. New pillow covers. 

Adding a new pillow cover is one of my favorite easy ways of changing the look of a room. I treated myself to two new covers, both from Amazon, of all places: the Aztec patterned pillow ($3.59) on the blue chair, and the buffalo checked pillow ($6.98)on the couch. I like the way the black and white balances the pink, gold, and navy pillows, and mixes in the farmhouse and modern look. 

2. New bedroom lamps.

Here’s how my mind works – I want to upgrade the lamps in one room, so I end up changing all the lamps in all the bedrooms. Here’s how this happened: after years using the guest room as a place to put all the mismatched stuff that I didn’t want to get rid of, I decided to at least upgrade the lamps.

See the “before:”

To do that, I bought a lampshade that was actually the right size for the big brass lamp that belonged to Brian’s great-grandmother, and I spray painted the tiny lamp and took it to work, along with the one that matched it from Brian’s side of the bed (here’s the blog post on that, with photos of how they turned out).

Then I moved my light blue lamp, a freebie from someone who was moving, to the guest room, where it actually is the perfect color of blue. Here’s the “after:”

That left our master bedroom lamp-less – so after months of searching, I decided on these lamps from Target. I love the white and gold, and of course, the marble. And I like that now our lamps are both matching – for the first time in our married lives. New marriage level: unlocked!



3. Books I’m reading.

On my nightstand right now: This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving Where You Live. I heard of this book on the Happy Hour podcast, and it sounded fascinating. After almost 7 years of living in Arizona, it feels like we’re still scratching the surface of what’s here. I’m about halfway through, and I started a long list of ideas for “loving my town” experiments.
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst. This is the kind of book you have to read slowly, to really take it all in. It’s very convicting, challenging, and encouraging. 
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. This is our current book club pick, and it’s been such a long time since I’d read it, I’d forgotten just how GOOD it is! I’ve cried at least twice, and laughed a few times, and I’m maybe slightly over halfway through, and thoroughly enjoying it.

4. Whole 30.

If you’re not familiar with the Whole 30 Challenge, it’s a challenge to only eat fruit, vegetables, and meat basically for 30 days. Read all about it on their website. This is the second one we’ve done, and sometimes the Whole 30 feels like one of those things that isn’t fun at the time, but then when you back on it, you say, “That was great, let’s do it again!” Kind of like camping. Or a rollercoaster. 
But there are some things about the Whole 30 I’m loving this time around – mainly made possible by Trader Joe’s. Sweet Potato ribbons, butter nut squash noodles, pre-cooked chicken and pork, tons of dried fruit, vegetables, and nutrition bars – it makes getting dinner on the table after getting home from work a hundred times easier. And it all tastes good.
I’m also loving cooking, to an extent. And that is, as long as it’s easy and Edison isn’t clinging to my legs, crying. That’s when it’s definitely NOT fun!


5. “Thy Will” song by Hillary Scott.



If you haven’t heard this song on the radio yet, you might want to grab a tissue. The music and the lyrics are truly beautiful. I’ve listened to it often enough that the song will get stuck in my head, and then it will be a reminder to me throughout my day at work when I start to worry, or try to control situations – not my will, but His. I’ve been clinging to this reminder the last couple weeks, as more restructuring at work was announced, leaving me with lots of unknowns. I hope it speaks to you too!

Those are some things I’m loving – now it’s your turn! Tell me what you’re into at the moment in the comments below.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link. Thanks for your support!

Life Lately: Spring Is In The Air

It’s beginning to look a lot like springtime – the weather has fluctuated from the upper 80’s back down to 60’s, and back up again. We’ve had storms and rain, which means puddles!

Edison is practically a little fish – the bath tub is his happy place! He amazes us each week with the new words he tackles and just how much he understands!

My grandparents drove across the country for a visit! We sent them home with several bags of our oranges.

Grandma came to visit! We celebrated Brian’s birthday, cheered on Brian and my sister-in-law when they ran a half-marathon, and Brian and I got to go on TWO child-free dates in one week! Edison and Sirius loved walks to the park every day.
Lent started on March 1st, and with it, we began our second Whole 30 challenge. 
I’m doing a Lent Bible study also, and as part of it, I’m supposed to practice the “Sabbath,” or day of rest, once a week.  This is harder for me than giving up added sugar, grains, dairy, etc. and also giving up sleeping with my phone – all challenges I’ve undertaken. I don’t even know where to start with “resting.” There’s just so much to do! Being “still” feels impossible. 
But when I took that photo of the (clean side of the) kitchen, complete with Edison’s art on the chalkboard, it invokes “still” to me – trusting the Holy Spirit to work in me, as I go about everyday life, and wait for him. 
Coming down with a sinus and ear infection is definitely enforcing the “rest” aspect now –  but I’m hopeful that I don’t have to make myself sick every time before I learn to rest. Maybe this Lent study will help me grow in this area. 
Easter is coming! 🙂 What does your life look like lately?

How to DIY a Rose Gold Anthropologie Hurricane

I first saw these rose gold metal hurricanes in Anthropologie around Mother’s Day last year, and Brian bought me the tiniest one for a Mother’s Day gift. The largest ones cost $52, but they’re currently sold out.
If you, like me, can’t spend $52 on such an item and missed your opportunity to get it, this post is for you. Well, if you’re willing to put in the work to make it. But since you’re reading this post, I’m going to take that as a yes.
You’ll need: 

 This is what I started with: a $20 light fixture from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. I bought this originally for the insides of the light fixture, to DIY my own light fixture for the dining room, but I was able to put the glass to good use!

Step 1: Take out the innards. Brian helped me with this, because I was initially having a hard time figuring out how it came apart. When it’s done, you’ll have this: 
Set aside the light fixture innards for your future project. 
Then, Cover all the exterior glass with painters’ tape, like so. It’s tedious, but very important to get the glass well covered, with a good edge along the metal. It will save you a lot of time on the clean up!
After your glass is taped, Use a scrap of cardboard to block off the inside. You’ll have to cut it just a little larger than the opening, and fit it inside just below the rim. I neglected to do this, which as you’ll see, was not a good idea. I highly recommend learning from my mistake!

Put on a coat of spray paint primer. This will help the paint adhere to the metal. Notice in the photo above, the top of the glass is not covered. I didn’t realize how much spray paint would actually get inside, and guess what – it’s A LOT. So make sure you do cover the opening.

Also a tip I learned from watching DIY videos on YouTube – spray painting inside a cardboard box helps keep the paint contained, and protects what you’re painting from wind and dust.

Follow up with a coat or two of copper spray paint.

Once it’s dry to the touch, start carefully peeling off your painters tape. The sooner you remove the tape, the easier it will be to have a good clean edge. This step is super satisfying!

Clean off any paint on the glass with a scraper. This step took the longest for me, because I had to scrape down the entire inside of the thing, due to not blocking off the opening. 
The paint came off with the tape in a couple places, so that’s what you need the additional bottle of metallic paint for – just touch up areas that need it. 
Add candles, moss, stones, lights, succulents, flowers, or whatever suits you, and place it somewhere it can be admired by all. 
I’d guess this cost me $12 in paint, if I wasn’t using paint I already had, and $10 for the light fixture, since I’m using half of it for another project.
The tiny hurricane is the one I bought from Anthro, and I think the two of them together look like they were always meant to be!

4 Friday Finds

1. My Root Collective Boots. You guys, permit me to gush for a bit. I’ve wanted these boots forever, but like most fair trade goods, the price kept me from pulling the trigger. After Christmas, I finally treated myself to them, and I don’t know what took me so long! They go with everything. Now that I’ve broken them in, they’re super comfortable. They were true to size, and I get compliments on them almost every time I wear them … which is basically every day.

And the best part – as I mentioned already, since they’re fair trade, they directly employ artisans, providing an escape from gangs and a dignified way of providing for families.


Every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. These boots are made for change makin’! And good news for you – when I bought my pair, I was given a special link that would allow my friends to get 10% off of their own purchase. Check them out, you won’t regret it!

 2. DIY Minimalist Videos on YouTube. I think this qualifies as an addiction. The last month was fairly stressful at work, and since I didn’t have time to do much creating myself to relieve the stress, I found that watching others create helped, plus it gave me lots of fresh ideas! I’m particularly enjoying the “minimalist” “Tumblr inspired” DIY videos. To show you what I mean, I made a playlist! Yes, there’s 45 videos in the playlist. Inspiration for days!

One of my favorites that I can’t wait to try:

3. Used Book Sales. I mentioned this on Instagram, but a few weeks ago I went to the VNSA Book Sale for the first time. All of the used books were donated and sold for charity – all half a million.

Yes, you read that right – half a million books, two days, in a warehouse in the middle of Phoenix. People started lining up and camping out the day before. My friend who told me about the sale got up at 4:30 am on a Saturday! I went with two friends at about noon, and still had to wait in line about half an hour to get it, but wow – was it worth it. I literally felt giddy – so many books, so little time, so cheap!

In the back of my mind, I wondered if there was any way I could find my favorite books from childhood – the Childcraft series, and the Junior Classics series. Both sets were old when I was reading them as kid, and when I’d looked for them online in the past, the Childcraft sets went for $100. So when I found BOTH, and the Junior Classics were $1 each, and the complete Childcraft set was $15 total – I about started hyperventilating.

Two boxes of books for $41 is about the best day ever!

4. Mom Made Market Finds. But my day actually got even better, because that same day, I went to the Mom Made Market in downtown Phoenix (shout out to AMP for driving!). We made it in the last few minutes of the market, and we made it worth our while. I brought home three prints, two tees, a romper, and a wooden cut out of of the state of Iowa.

Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the shop I bought the cacti print from. The “Low Maintenance” gray tee is from LaLa Threads, the pineapple tee and romper are from A Quiver Full (the company Edison brand reps for!) the wooden Iowa cut out is from The Treasure Hunts, and I can’t wait to make something with it.

Have you found anything lately you can’t stop recommending? Let us know in the comments!

3 Easy Upcycles You Can Make This Weekend

When you work full time and have a one and a half year old, crafting time happens in pockets at night and on weekends. Which means that projects I can start on a Saturday morning and actually complete by evening are super satisfying. Times that by three, and you’ll feel like you rule the craft world!

1. Marble Fridge Magnets

Up-cycle your old fridge magnets! For this super simple project, you’ll need:

  • A sheet of hexagon marble tiles. After looking at Home Depot, I bought these from Amazon. They were the perfect size, and the price couldn’t be beat!
  • A hot glue gun.
  • Magnets. I used my cheap old fridge magnets from Target. 

I hot-glued the old magnets to the back of the marble tiles. The one thing you’ll need to test is the strength of the magnets. I’d tried to upcycle some of those old flimsy old fridge magnets that have advertisements for restaurants, etc. on them, but they weren’t strong enough. 
Here’s the fridge before/during the magnet testing phase: 

 And after!

I love the little touch of elegance they add!

2. Paper Straw Diamond Mobile

This is one of those crafts I’d pinned ages ago, bought the supplies, made an attempt, and failed. The straws cluttered up my craft supplies drawer for months. Then one day, after watching some DIY videos on YouTube completely unrelated, I had a flash of inspiration and realized I could do this in an easier way – hot glue.

Here’s my original inspiration, from Sugar and Cloth:

This is what I started with – a tangled mess of straws tied together.

Here’s what you need:

  • Paper straws. I bought these at Target in the dollar section.
  • Hot glue gun.
  • Scissors, and string for hanging.

As described in the original tutorial linked above, for various sizes of diamonds, you’ll need different sized pieces. I ended up adding to the pieces you see here, so there were a total of:

  • five 6 1/4″ straws
  • five 5 1/2″ straws
  • ten 3 1/2″ straws

Here’s the premise: instead of stringing the straws together, we’re going to hot glue them. Hot glue dries so fast, and is malleable for a minute, it seemed plausible that this would work.

Start by gluing together a triangle with two long pieces and one medium piece.

Then we’re going to start to assemble the pentagon shape of medium pieces, with the long pieces forming triangles along the sides and connecting at the top.

Yay! The top section is done!

To add the rest of the diamond shape, it’s easiest to lay it on it’s side, and glue the pieces one by one. 
Clean up the glue by just breaking off any excess. 
Add some string for hanging, or use it as a decorative item!


3. Upcycled Lamps

Before:
Note the tiny lamp on the right in the first photo:  it, and the taller version, were a super cheap Walmart buys when Brian and I first got married and moved into our very first apartment. They’re nothing special, so I considered donating them and getting something with a little more flair. And then I had a light-bulb moment, and realized that they were perfect candidates for a spray paint upgrade! 
Now, spray painted lamps can go one of two ways – tacky, or awesome. There’s not much in between. So I did my research when it came to gold spray paint, and I decided to try two different types to see what the effects were. 
This paint was SO easy to use, I loved it! I had much more control over the paint, and my hand didn’t get tired and cramped. It was easy to get a super even and smooth finish, and I liked the final color of the gold, not too yellow or two orangey. 
This paint has your typical spray nozzle, and typical pitfalls – you have to be careful to control the amount of paint, not let it drip, etc. The hammered finish helps disguise any drips, and looks really cool.
As it turned out, I needed some lamps in my office at work, so I didn’t have to rely on horrible florescent lights. Here’s how the Universal Gold turned out: 

Here’s the Hammered Gold lamp: 

Between the two, I’d probably use the Universal Gold again before I’d use the Hammered Gold again. But for just the right project, the hammered gold could be the perfect effect. 
I also tried spray painting the lampshade on the small lamp – but if you’re going to attempt that, be sure to vacuum them off really well first. 
As far as actual steps for painting the lamps: tape off the cords, placing them in a plastic bag like I did, and taping off the top where the light bulb will go. Follow the drying instructions on your spray paint, but seriously, without priming, these turned out fantastic and were done in a day. 
And that’s it! Three easy DIY projects you can start, and probably complete, in a day. While you’re waiting for your first coat of spray paint to dry, you can be hot-gluing your magnets or straws!
Now you have no excuse – get crafting!

DIY: Moss Covered Letter Art

Sometimes, projects end up in a very different place from where you anticipated starting out. This was one such project. I had a specific plan for putting some bouquets of fake flowers to good use, and this project I’d pinned ages ago was too perfect. But in the end, I didn’t end up using any of the flowers, but some other craft supplies I already had, and still loving the finished product. That’s the creative process for you!

So if some of the photos below are a little confusing, it’s because the supplies for this project evolved over the course of completing it. Here’s what you actually need to complete the moss covered letter:

Supplies: 

  • Floral moss. I bought a bag of reindeer moss from Amazon. This is great stuff for terrariums too!
  • Hot glue gun.
  • A piece of cardboard. Mine is from the back of a print I purchased and framed, but any piece or thickness of cardboard could work.
  • Photo frame. I bought this one at Goodwill for a couple dollars, and painted it to give it new life.
  • Old book pages. I bought some old books at Goodwill also, and I’ve used them for many craft projects over the years.
  • A printer.

First, decide on the letter. I chose a “C” for our last name, which seemed fitting for the entry way. I tried drawing a “C” directly onto the cardboard, but I could not for the life of me get it to look good. So, take the time to type the letter into a Word document or Google Doc, and increase the font size to fill a standard 8×10 frame.

Print your letter, and cut it out. Trace it onto your cardboard, and cut it out.

Here’s where I resorted to Plan B. Plan A was to cover the letter with moss, mostly to fill any gaps between the flowers, which would go on top of the moss. But, my flowers were too large, or my letter too thin, for the flowers to fit. So, I kept it simple and just used the moss by itself.

With some little helping hands out of the way, I carefully hot-glued the moss to the frame, using generous amounts of moss to completely cover the cardboard. 

  

Now that your letter is ready, let’s start on the frame. I’d originally painted this frame what I’d thought would turn out a nice coral pink. Instead, I’d describe it as dusty 80’s rose. Not ideal. It was much improved with my favorite metallic finish gold paint

After I removed the existing artwork, I taped some old book pages to cover the back of the picture frame. You could use scrapbook paper, sheet music, or pieces of cool wallpaper, whatever fits with your entry way vibe.

Once the frame was reassembled, I used hot glue to attache the moss letter to the glass, on the front of the frame. Then it’s ready for hanging!
Of course, after I hung this up, I stopped to read the book page. I’d used some pages from one of the James Herriot books, which if you’re not familiar, are the adventures of Yorkshire country vet. The books are full of heartwarming stories, and they bring back many great memories of watching the TV series with my family on Sunday nights, drinking tea. They also sometimes very bluntly describe medical conditions and procedures, as the pages I just happened to select did. 
So yes, the words “ovarian,” “uterine,” and “pus-filled mass” are on display in our entryway.
 The creative process is messy, after all. 

How to Make Baby Joggers From a Tee Shirt

It finally got too cold for shorts here in Phoenix, so joggers were a natural progression. I love that they’re stretchy and allow for plenty of running, crawling, and climbing.
Edison’s hoodie in the photos above, if you’re curious, is from A Quiver Full. Use the code “JESUS” for 20% off!
This project has been sitting on my Pinterest board for ages, and I finally did it! If my photos and directions below don’t make sense, check out the original tutorial I followed here. These really do take half an hour, or less! I made two pairs during one nap-time.

You will need: 

  • An adult tee shirt. I used an old shirt from Loft. 
  • 1/2 wide elastic for the waistband.
  • Paper for your pattern. 
  • A sewing machine and thread, scissors, etc.

Step 1: Make your pattern. On a large piece of paper, mark the waistband of the pants, and then the crotch, and then the ends of the legs on your paper, and fill in the sides. Add an inch to the top, because this will be folded over to make your waistband. Add a half inch around the edge, for your seam. Your patter should look a little more square than the pair of pants you’re tracing.

Step Two: Cut out your pieces.  Place your tee shirt on a flat surface, making sure the hem lines up. Then pin your pattern to the tee, lining up the legs with the bottom of the shirt (I didn’t get the left leg lined up perfectly, but ideally, they should both line up). Then cut through both layers of the tee.

Step Three: Turn the pieces so the right sides are together. Then, sew a quarter inch seam around the pant legs.

Step 4: Fold over your waistband, and sew down the edge, leaving a gap of a couple inches for putting in the elastic.

Step Five: Going off of the existing pair of pants you used for your pattern, measure your elastic and cut it to that size. Push a safety pin through one end, and then feed it through the hole you left in the waistband, and pull all the way through. 

Once you have the elastic all the way through, you’ll need to sew the ends of the elastic together. fold them over each other, and sew a few lines up and down to tack them together. Above, I’ve done it on a second pair of pants. Getting the elastic under the sewing machine is probably the most tricky part of this whole thing.


Step Six: Once the elastic is back inside, sew the gap closed, and turn right side out. 
Tada! Happy Christmas crafting! And enjoy some more photos of Edison modeling 🙂

Life Lately: Simple Christmas

Friday, I left work a little early to try to do some cleaning at home before Brian got off work and picked up Edison from daycare. I turned up the Christmas worship music, and starting from the living room, began mopping my way to the other end of the house. It was slow work, since we haven’t mopped for, oh, a few months? It’s bad when you can’t remember the last time you mopped.

But when I made it to Edison’s room, as I flipped on the light, I felt that the light switch was all sticky. And I couldn’t help but smile.

Sticky light switches make me think of our nightly bedtime routine. After Edison has his pajamas on and his teeth brushed, while I hold him up, he switches off the bathroom light, then the hallway light, and then his bedroom light last of all.

I never would have thought there’d be a day that sticky light switches made me happy. Or the puppies, trucks, books, and blocks I see scattered all over the living room floor from where I sit typing.

But when I see toys all over the floor, or touch a sticky light switch, I’m struck by that feeling. The one all mothers know, the feelings of overwhelming love, joy in this moment, fear that life is going by too fast, sadness of knowing how fleeting it is, sheer happiness in the present. All mingled and combined into the emotion that is motherhood.

So, I’m trying to take each day slowly. My house isn’t decorated as much or as well as I’d like, like the photos I can’t stop pinning on Pinterest, but Edison loves the Christmas tree (and especially the switch that turns the lights on and off) just as it is.

We haven’t made any cute Christmas crafts. I probably won’t have time to put together clever gifts for his teachers at daycare. I forgot to get the mailman anything. I’ve fallen behind on my Advent calendar and devotional, but the scripture and lessons for the days I have done has been a blessing. I might not get all the gifts for all the people I’d like, or send enough Christmas cards, or bake anything at all.

After all, people, I’ve just mopped my floor for the first time in … a very long while, so that should tell you where to set your expectations.

We probably won’t go do all the fun Christmas activities, or fit in all of the Christmas movies, or see all the people we’d like to see while we’re in Iowa for Christmas. But I don’t want this Christmas to go by wishing I’d done more, or seen more, or had more. I just want to be truly present in each moment.

I think that’s the best gift I can give.

DIY Christmas Decor: Marble and Gold Letters

So, I told you marble contact paper was addicting. 
Last week was Thanksgiving, and despite the contentions and deep divides around us, I hope you had peace around your Thanksgiving dinner table, and you were able to be truly grateful for those with you and your many blessings.
I think “peace” is especially applicable this Christmas season. As Advent begins, the season of expectant waiting, it’s a reminder that the Prince of Peace did come to this world as a baby, and live with us. He’s the Healer, and ultimate King.
Also, I’m writing this post before Thanksgiving, and I may or may not be listening to Christmas music. Ok, I’m definitely listening to Christmas music. 
Have you seen the Christmas decorations at Target? I fell in love with the marble Christmas trees. Marble matches everything, and is so classy.
I took that marble idea, and expanded on it for these marble and gold letters!
You’ll Need: 

Step 1: Fold your contact paper so that right sides are together, like it is in the image above. 

Step 2: Then trace and cut out your letters. You may need to use a craft knife to cut out some shapes, depending on what letters you choose. “JOY” would have been a bit easier!

Step 3: Peel and stick the contact paper letters to the cardboard letters. Smooth out any bubbles under the surface. This part is the most fun!

Step 4: Paint the edges of the letters gold. I’d tried to use my copper contact paper, but without success. Paint is much easier, and I love the finished result!
Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s now acceptable for me to take down my fall decorations and bust out the Christmas stuff. These will find a new home on my mantle. 
(And if you like that painting … I made that too, and I can post a tutorial for that also. The premise behind it is so easy, anyone could do it.)
So bust out the Christmas music with no shame, and get to spreading that Christmas cheer! Peace on earth, good will to men!

DIY: Make A Faux Marble and Copper Mousepad

In the last post on our office, we were still using a kitchen table and black desk. Someday I’ll have the finishing touches ready and I’ll share the rest, but *spoiler alert* we now have white desks.

I can’t tell you how much I love my desk, but the white surface did create an issue with my computer mouse. For weeks, I couldn’t figure out why my computer would turn on, but the mouse wouldn’t respond. Finally, I mentioned it to Brian, and in five minutes he diagnosed the issue – no mouse pad. He let me use his, which is covered with lovely photos of car parts and Motocraft products. But I wanted something a little more me.

I was inspired by the lovely marble mouse pads I found on Etsy for $20, and figured out how to create my own.

You’ll need:

Step 1: Cut your craft foam to size. 

Step 2: Trace your craft foam onto your marble contact paper. We’re going to add a section of copper, so mark how far you want the marble to come. Then cut it out.

Step 3: Slowly, peel and stick the contact paper to your foam, smoothing out any bubbles.

Step 4: Trace and cut out a section of copper contact paper to fit, and repeat – smoothing out any bubbles.

And that’s really all there is too it!

Want other ideas for using your contact paper? You can trace your laptop and apply it to the back of the screen, use it to give an upgrade to a bland desk lamp, wrap your pencil holder, and add some pieces to your desk accessories, like your stapler or table dispenser. 
Soon, I’ll post a Christmas decor idea using the marble contact paper. But I’d love to hear from you, have you used contact paper in crafts? What other ideas do you have for cool uses for it? Share them with us in the comments below!
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