Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Weekly Purse

Ahh, another hot summer week gone by! I've talked to so many moms that have said this has been a hard summer. For some it has been because the kids are restless and wild. For others it has been financial. For many, it has just been lonely. We have about two weeks left before summer. I'm hoping to make the best of it and add a little fun into the remaining days!

This week's ears:
Sow's Ear: 45 minute wait in the doctor's office
Silk Purse: Great diagnosis in just a few minutes

Sow's Ear: Two kids in a different doctor's appointment in a REALLY small room!
Silk Purse: LOVE the new doctor!

Sow's Ear: Just take a look at this post
Silk Purse: A really great gift!

Sow's Ear: Negative comments made about someone dear to me
Silk Purse:  The knowledge that God gave me this family for a reason.  Pure and simple.

Ok, I'm off to brainstorm some fun things for this week!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stinky Playhouse to Garden Cottage

For my daughter's 2nd birthday I wanted to get her a Little Tikes type playhouse. Something like this:

The problem is they are between $200 and $300.  NOT in my budget for her birthday.  What I found was a 15 year old cottage that I bought for $60.  It WAS NOT what I wanted!  And it was stinky.  REALLY stinky.  I know I paid too much.  I know the person needed the money.  It was a win for both.  Here's a few before pictures of it in pieces.

I decided that I needed to bring out the spray paint for plastics.  This stuff is great.  I've used it a lot with great results for items inside the house (making my trashcan match the kitchen, painting matching plastic containers, etc.)  This is the first project that I have done for outside and I'm still waiting to see how it holds up.  My Home Depot was limited in the color selection but I picked up 2 cans of black, a can of sunrise red, and 4 cans of a creamy taupe color.  And here's the result! 

I did not add the kitchen sink and counter to the inside.  It was just too far gone.  I'll probably look for some plastic chairs to add to the inside.  It cost less than $100 and NO ONE else has this house.  I replaced the handle with a golf ball (I just used a drill to make a pilot hole in it and used the original screw).  I want to add some vinyl letters (maybe her monogram) to the door.  She LOVES it!  

A few tips I learned from this project.  DO NOT do this in 95 degree heat.  It does not make a happy mom!  Buy one of the pop on handles for spray cans that help you spray.  It helped the paint go farther and kept my hands clean.  I will never spray paint without one again!  I spent about $3.00 on it.  Children love seeing their parents work on something for them.  She keeps asking, "You painted this for me?  It's my house?"  Too CUTE! 

Have you painted anything with plastic spray paint?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sow's Ear Limit

I think I should set a limit to the number of sow's ears I tackle in one day.  I definitely tried to do too much.  I bought a used (and stinky) playhouse for my daughter for her birthday.  I decided that it needed painting and it needed painting today.  Did you know it was 95 degrees in the shade today?  (I'll show some pictures soon.)  I also decided I needed to get my camera looked at and needed to make her birthday cake.  Umm, WHAT was I thinking!  I will sleep well tonight.  VERY WELL!

I'm not sure why I am working so hard for a 2 year old's birthday.  She won't remember it.  She'll just be glad to have her family around her.  I'm sure it's guilt.  Ever noticed that if you are feeling bad about your parenting or your current life situation, you overcompensate by buying or doing too much for your kids?  Of course I know that a playhouse will not make up for my shortcomings as a mom.  My other theory is that I'm an emotional mess about my baby girl turning 2.  It's easier to stay busy than to stay sane during this time.

Hmmm, maybe I'm being a little bit like Martha, huh?  I pray I can choose what is better tomorrow.  I'm going to enjoy it.  Count my blessings.  Love on my little birthday girl.  Swim in the pool with my kids.  Enjoy some time with my childhood friend.  May you choose better too!
Luke 10:38-40
 38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"  41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hardware store decorating

I love making things for my home.  I blame my mother.  She's an interior decorator by trade so she always had some project going.  My dad is very handy with tools.  Put the two together and they created an obsessed child!  Not all my projects turn out great but it is always cheaper than buying it in the store or paying someone to do it.  AND I have something that no one else does.

We recently bought some 'barely used' furniture for our family room.  It is a TOTALLY different design than what we had before.  We used to have dark blue couches.  Now they are cream and sage and coral.  So my red floral cutains had to go (given to a friend of course!)  Now, I searched for a replacement at the usual haunts: Target, Bed Bath Beyond, Marshalls, Ross, and several consignment stores.  I was looking for something in a beige/green/cream linen.  I found NOTHING.  I didn't even find a sow's ear.  I ran across this article at Beneath My Heart about using drop cloths.  That's right, as in the things you put on the floor when you are painting!  It's the PERFECT sow's ear!

I'm half way done with getting them ironed and hung up.  I will hopefully post a few pictures tomorrow.  It really was the perfect shade of linen that I needed.  I spent less than $20 for a pair of 8 foot curtains.  If you buy linen from a fabric store it is going to cost you anywhere from $10 to $20 a yard.  

What things have you decorated with that are unusual?

Monday, July 26, 2010

What is God's Safety?

My dear sweet friend, Cheryl Cannon, of  Let's Talk Ministries challenged a group of us to memorize Psalm 16.  It's a long one and I have it hanging in my shower (in a Ziploc bag) so I can read it every morning.  I don't have it memorized yet but there are parts of it that have seared it's way into my heart.  I know that's what the Word can do when we let it into our lives.  The first verse of Psalm 16 has done this for me.

Our family has a particularly stinky sow's ear in our life right now.  It's a scary time and we are still figuring out what type of silk purse this will be.  Will it be one that arrives in a box all tied up with a ribbon?  Will it be one that we have to go out and sew ourselves with blood sweat and tears?  Or maybe it will be a combination of both.  We are in the waiting time.  Waiting on God.  But His word says that we can cry to Him for safety.  We can RUN to him for refuge.  I find myself saying throughout the day "Keep me safe, O God"  "I'm running to you for refuge."

The glorious part is that even though I have this stinky sow's ear, I have this peace.  I believe that God is keeping me safe.  Maybe not from the current situation but He is keeping me safe from the sheer emotion of it all.  He is allowing me to hand my worries over to him.  These are the world's worries.  Not mine. 

I've included the entire Psalm here for you to sear into your heart.  I'd love to hear how God has provided refuge to you!

Psalm 16 (New Living Translation)

A psalm of David.
 1 Keep me safe, O God,
      for I have come to you for refuge. 2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
      Every good thing I have comes from you.”
 3 The godly people in the land
      are my true heroes!
      I take pleasure in them!
 4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
      I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
      or even speak the names of their gods.
 5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
      You guard all that is mine.
 6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
      What a wonderful inheritance!
 7 I will bless the Lord who guides me;
      even at night my heart instructs me.
 8 I know the Lord is always with me.
      I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
 9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
      My body rests in safety.
 10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
      or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
 11 You will show me the way of life,
      granting me the joy of your presence
      and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Laundry: The never ending saga but a solution at hand

I've been doing my own laundry since I was 10. Lest you think I had some horrible parents, it was my own fault! I yelled at my mom for ruining some item of clothing. She told me I could do it then. I thought she was the worst mom! Of course, now I know it was good parenting.

Twenty-five years later, I'm STILL doing laundry. Of course now it's not just mine. It's mine and 3 others as well. I was getting so overwhelmed at ALWAYS having clothes to put up. I did what most do: sort laundry by color, wash laundry, sort by person, fold, put up.

Until I ran across this article at I'm an Organizing Junkie on NOT sorting your laundry.  It's really been life changing!  Now each person in our family has their own basket.  I also have a basket for rags, towels, sheets, etc.  Now as each basket is washed it gets folded and that person can put all their clothes away at once.  This is ESPECIALLY WONDERFUL if you have a girl!  Don't you hate it when the the jeans that go with that cute top are still in the wash?  Well now it all comes out at the same time! 

The Organizing Junkie article explains it all, so please check it out.  I keep a small bottle of vinegar by the washer and add it to every load: it helps get out smells, is a good fabric softener, and keeps colors from fading.  Anything brand new might get washed separately, but I would have done that anyway.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Weekly Purse

As I'm sitting here reflecting on the past week, I wondered if I'd really turned anything into a silk purse. Did I take anything bad and turn it to good? As many moms know, the summer can make or break you. This was really the first summer that I had 2 kids to take care of by myself. Sometimes the days fly. Other days creep.

In upstate South Carolina it has been HOT! Like 100 degrees hot with a 'feels like' of 114 degrees! These kind of days creep. It's just too hot to take the kids outside or even to the pool (redheads and 100 degree heat don't mix well!) It became even more challenging to make a silk purse. But here's how I tried:

Sow's Ear: Almost two year old bored because big brother is at Vacation Bible School
Silk Purse: Started to 'play' school with her so she can learn her colors. She loved it and I felt like we had some much needed 'girl time'.

Sow's Ear: Kids are so tired and hot by the time my husband gets home that dinner is just a mess!
Silk Purse: Ate a special lunch out with the 4 of us on a weekday and really enjoyed it!

Sow's Ear: Received some potentially devastating news from a friend.
Silk Purse: Realized that God was giving us a special gift of knowledge to protect us.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have a lot of Sow's ears around here. I mean A LOT! But it's nice to know I can finish a few purses each week. What did you turn into a silk purse this week! I'd love to hear about it!

The beginning...

Ok, so if you came here looking for directions on making a silk purse, you just might be disappointed. I've been thinking about starting a blog for awhile and struggled with what it would be about. I've always liked do lots of different things and didn't have a focus. But today, I realized that IS my focus. The title is from the saying "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear." I live my life MAKING silk purses from sow's ears. When I've wanted a new look for the front of my house, I took what looked like a pigsty and turned it into a welcoming retreat. When our grocery budget needed to be slashed, I started couponing and we started eating better than we had before. When the lamp shades my mom gave me didn't go with our decor, I figured out how to recover them. And (MOST IMPORTANTLY) when I realized that I was just a sow's ear in God's eyes, I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and became a silk purse (a daughter of God!)

Stay tuned for some fun tutorials, thoughts on being a mom and wife, and maybe even how to make a silk purse!