Friday, June 29, 2012

Forever Grateful...

late last night, my daughter saw a man putting american flags into all of the frontyards in our neighborhood.  how thoughtful, i thought.  wish they would stay there all year long.  

so those little flags made me get out some of my fourth of july goodies this afternoon and add a few more touches to our frontyard.  i want everyone who drives by our home to know that our family is so very, very grateful to each and every man and woman who has and is now serving our beloved country.
we cannot say "thank you" enough.

my favorite thing to decorate in our frontyard is the old desk that sits by our front door.  i bought it for $4 at a thrift store.  it was your typical dark brown 70s desk with brass knobs.  so i threw a coat of white paint on it and a few glass handles from target.  i was actually pulling it out of my daughter's room one day and heading into the garage to store it.  but because i was so weak, i rested for a second on the front porch. i then looked at its dimensions and thought, hey, you're staying right here.  it fit perfectly!  and for $4, i'm not too concerned if it gets a little too wet.

i saw this melamine plate in a magazine a few years ago and just fell in love with it.  the following year, i stumbled upon it at homegoods i think.  i did a happy dance!  and i can't resist spelling words out of vintage blocks and letters.

i found this sweet little handmade pillow at an antiques store for a song.  but i need to keep my eyes open for a cute little red cushion for my chair for next year.  the black's not cuttin' it.

and you can never have too many flags tucked into your garden...

the only bummer about decorating for the fourth of july is that you feel like you've got to take it all down by the fifth of july.  but i'm thinkin' i'm not gonna do it. 
 i might leave it up all summer long.
to me, american flags scream summer. 
and swimming.  
and watermelons. 
 and being forever grateful.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The 2 Grand Reveal...

well, my little project is now complete.  and we're lovin' it.  (notice I said "we're" -- that means my husband too.)

on my last post, i mentioned that i stumbled upon a 50% off sale at the salvation army two weeks ago.  and before i did, i was "this close" to pulling the trigger on a very expensive piece from pottery barn to put in our bedroom.  i HATE spending lots of money on stuff, but given that we're holding classes in our home now (and going into each and every room) and my health isn't extremely reliable right now, i thought i would just take the plunge and buy something that i knew would look good.  i wouldn't have had any fun buying it though because this girl likes to do things the hard way -- like hiring a delivery guy who doesn't bring a partner to help him lug the 400-pound piece up the stairs, buying the right color of paint but the wrong type of finish and driving around town for 3 days attempting to find the perfect handles with a three, not a three and a half inch, span.  but i digress.

so this is the piece from pottery barn that i had my eye on, minus the two tall cabinets on each side and the hutch across the top with the cubbies. (and also minus the perfect sunlight that's streaming in from the right hand side of the room.)

stunning?  yes.
pricey?  yes.
and remember, i would have only bought the bottom part: 
the tv stand and the two small cabinets on each side 
for a whopping $2,500. add the top part, and you're looking at close to 4 grand for the whole unit.  just absurd, in my opinion.

oh, and before i continue, my husband really thinks needs lots of storage.  and the above piece does't even fit that bill.

but look what does!

don't you just love it's orange-y pine color and unattractive center cabinet doors?  isn't the fact that it's missing one handle just charming? (see right side, third drawer down.)

don't you just love the hibiscus flowers on the doors?
and doesn't it just look lovely on our wall?

but then enter gregg, the wonder(handy)man...

and ta da...

a new coat of white paint, new center knobs, a roll of chicken wire, a shot of spray paint and a scrap of toile fabric.
 be still my heart. 
and my wallet.

as gregg was finishing up and i was putting the handles back on, i mentined to him that the center cabinet doors were still not cute, even though they were now white.  i asked him if he could cut them out.  he did one better.  he popped them out with his putty knife and a little muscle.  

it made all the difference.
i added some chicken wire (sprayed a dingy gold) and some yellow and white toile fabric.

the glass knobs are from anthropologie.  i decided to keep the original handles on because i knew that these two would tie them all together and i wouldn't have to buy 16 new ones.  
(as i was stapling the chicken wire in, the two cross bars popped off and need to be glued back in.)  
pretend you don't notice that.  

to round out the look, i stole the wood clothes rod out of my daughter's closet (that she's never used), matching brackets i just happened to have (yes, dad, you're right -- don't throw every thing away just 'cus you don't need it right now), and the quilt from the end of my bed.  the two lamps were recent snags from tuesday morning at $16 each.

and the price of this sweet little addition?

dresser: $94
delivery charge: $45
(plus a $25 gift card for my neighbor who helped our "delivery man" deliver it by himself)
handyman services: $200
knobs: $9
chicken wire: $4
spray paint: free (had it)
fabric: free (had it)
for a grand total of: $377

now, if i had the oomph to paint, a husband with a strong back and hadn't gotten rid of our minivan, i would have saved $270.  but considering i saved the guy close to two grand, i still consider this a bargain.  

so take that, pottery barn!
oh, and this piece has 12 drawers (4 more behind the doors)
and, yes only 15 handles.  but i'll be scouring flea markets and thrift stores across america to find a match.
and i actually look forward to that!

so the moral of the story?  never not buy something because of the color.  never!  if it has good lines and it's a great price, then grab it.  because a quart of paint and a little creativity can really turn something yucky into something yummy.  

as my handyman said when he was leaving, "yep -- it turned out really nice.  now your bedroom is nice and inviting."

and that's what i've always wanted -- a bedroom that is nice and inviting -- to all who enter.  
wink wink.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cheap Thrills...

ok, came down with a little chemo-related fever on sunday. and lots of body aches too.  but duty calls, and i had to pick up my daughter from camp this afternoon.  but given that a new thrift store had its grand opening this morning, i was able to pick her up and muster enough strength to stop in to see if there were any treasures.  

and there were!  
(and given that i'm bored out of my mind when i have a fever and my advil has just kicked in, i wanted to share my finds with you.)

most of my treasures are for our backyard.
i found three sweet little pillows -- just the right colors -- to go with our sage green cushions and pink hydrangeas.  they were $2 each! 
(and really well made).
and see that little wicker side table?  
$5 at salvation army last week.

i also found a white wicker hamper basket.  i'll use it as a trash can when we have our "his flower girls" luncheon outside.  
it was $3.

(pink hydrangea hiding ugly electrical outlet).

in addition, i found an oval mirror for $4, a white creamer for $1 and an old picture frame for $6.  my daughter wants me to make it into a chalkboard for her bedroom.   that's right up my alley.

but as i was outside photographing these goodies, i realized there were a few other items that have recently made their way into our backyard.  
for free.

found this cute wicker couch around the corner on someone's curb.  only problem is that it had two broken legs.  so i asked gregg to come over and cut off the other two.  it's not really functional, but its darn cute.  and this side of our backyard is not really attractive.  
but it is now!  i'll eventually get around to hanging that old window above it.  behind the lattice wall, sits our trash cans and ugly, but necessary things.

and i think i've showed you this before.  how cute is this?
i popped in to see my girlfriend one day and noticed this cute piece was on the side of her driveway.  by her trash cans.  when i left, i had to ask her what she was going to do with it.   she told me it didn't look right at her new house.  (bummer, i thought).  she asked me if i wanted it.  
are you kidding?  uh, yeah!
she and her fiance delivered it to our backyard the very next day.  

moral of the story: become friends with kind people and visit them often!

so, come on, why spend your hard-earned money on expensive backyard accessories when birds will you-know-what all over them.  
get creative.  shop thrift stores.  get some cheap thrills!

and while i was at the salvation army last week, i stumbled upon another find i had to get.  just happened to be there on 50% off day.  woo-hoo.
i'll show you the before and after next week.  and just to let you know, i think i saved about $2,500!  i keep reminding my husband, "you are so lucky you married me."  because this girl would rather shop at thrift stores than pottery barn!

details and photos to follow...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

God's Beautiful Bouquet...

it's been just four days since our first His Flower Girls class.
and those little seeds have already taken root and produced a beautiful bouquet!

let me explain...
i received a text this morning from a friend who attended the class.
"call me when you have a sec.  good news!" 

well, i just got off the phone with her and had to share the good news.
so in addition to walking around our home and pointing out ways to bring God into each room, we also talked about leaving little gifts on our friends' porches.  maybe they're sick, recovering from surgery, or just struggling with something in their life.

so after leaving the class, my friend said she was inspired to pick up a few small gifts and start delivering them to a few of her friends.
well, in doing so, she lead one of her friends to the Lord!
she arrived at her friend's house.  gave her the gift.  they chatted on her porch.  she asked if she could pray with her about a few challenges she's having.  and minutes later, she received Jesus into her heart.

ok, and to think donna and i thought this would just be a decorating class!
silly us!
we should remember that amazing things happen when God's involved.

there's more to my friend's story, but the bottom line is this:
just obey.
obey God.  listen for His voice.  and follow His gentle nudge.
to think that this woman will now have a relationship with Jesus and spend eternity with our Lord all because a few of us girls obeyed God's tug at our own hearts, well, it just floors me.  well, it really doesn't.  because i know God is amazing and is always busy doing things we don't always know He's doing.

as i like to say, the Guy is good!
and we're so excited to keep sprinkling those seeds!!!
come join us!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Seeds Have Been Sprinkled...

well, what fun!  

as you can see, today was our very first class.
we straightened up the house, prepared some yummy food, put the cats in the laundry room and opened up our front door to welcome our very first class of 
"his flower girls."  and, of course, we had to put on our very cute t-shirts too!
(our fingers are saying, "it's the first class!") but i think donna and i need to wear a little bit more lipstick and blush at 10 o'clock in the morning!  

God had blessed us with a beautiful day and a home filled with beautiful women who were excited to learn about sprinkling seeds of faith throughout their home and garden.  

we began our morning in the family room.  we introduced ourselves and introduced the women we had invited.  and prayed that God would bless our time together.  we then handed the ladies some clipboards we made so they could jot down any notes they may have while walking room to room.

we then gave them a tour of the downstairs.  we walked through the entry, kitchen, dining room, family room and den.  i pointed out a few of the signs i've collected over the years and a few of the verses that i've recently framed.  we also shared how to make sweet little flower arrangements to share with others.  

then we headed upstairs to the master bedroom and bath, and to jake and rachel's rooms  -- which by the way, were spotless -- a small perk to opening up your home once a month to show others!  

while i was upstairs showing everyone around, donna and kelly were busy downstairs putting the final touches on our lunch.   after we ate, we all gathered in the backyard and chatted about the gifts God has given each one of us.  we  reminded them that there is no gift that is too small or too insignificant for God to use to bless others.   we then handed each of them a momento of their day to remind them that they are, in deed, a gift and to use their talents and abilities to bless others.  

our day ended with hugs and new friendships.  it was three hours of bliss.  we've already planned the date for our next class.  want to join us?
and just to clarify, we meet just once, on a saturday morning.  i think some of you thought it was a class that ran all summer long.  nope.  just one saturday from 10 am to 1 pm.  

but you can linger as long as you like... 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

about five years ago, i wrote four thoughts down on a piece of paper and tacked it to my bulletin board.   
my house, my garden, my kids, a charity.    

 “not sure how you’re gonna do this, Lord, but i want to glorify you.  and i hope these four things are involved.”
well, surprise, surprise.  
 a few months ago, i was sitting at our kitchen counter with my girlfriend donna.  we were talking about the bible studies and ministries we were planning on getting involved in after summer.  there was an outside chance that we could teach a bible study together, but given that we’re so green in that department, i came up with another idea.  
“what do you say about teaching a class together called 
his flower girls -- sprinkling seeds of faith throughout your home and garden?”  

her response?  “i’m in.”    

well, that was easy.  
i told her that we both have a passion for bringing God into our homes.  and that it would be fun to share that passion with others.  
she said, “it’ll be so easy -- we’ll just be bringing the chistian girl’s cottage blog to life.”
we agreed that she and rachel would prepare the goodies (can’t teach a class without yummy food!) and that we’d teach the same class to a different group of girls each month.
brilliant, i thought.  

and although we thought it was brilliant, we both decided to still pray about it.  well, just thirty minutes after she had left my house, i found a gift on my front porch.  a friend had just happened to drop off an old printer’s block with the number 5 on it and a little card that read, “thank you for blessing me with your blogs.”   well, you know the significance of the number five to me, right?  it symbolizes our family of four plus God, and i like to display that number throughout our home for all to see.  that gift, plus the words on the card, made me believe we received the answer to our prayer.
class was in session!
so we’ve been busy meeting these last two weeks and discussing all of the details.  we’re so excited!  our goal is to teach other moms how to display their love for the Lord throughout their homes and gardens.  the class will emphasize creative and budget-friendly ways of decorating and accessorizing their homes as well as feature organizational tips as well.   we’ll close the class by encouraging these moms to find their gifts and use them to bless others.  we aren’t going to charge for the class, but are asking for a small donation to my charity (i prefer the word ministry) “can’t do cancer without God.”  
so looking back at my list, i think God covered all my bases.
  is the Guy good or what?
when we grow huge and need to move our classes to hotel conference rooms, my son jake will help set up chairs.  :)

so if you’d be interested in hanging out with us girls one saturday morning, let us know.  we can’t wait to help sprinkle some seeds of faith throughout your home and garden! 

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