A Brand New Friend Friday!

It’s a Friday hodgepodge! Hmm…writing that made me think of ModPodge, which makes me feel a little bit crafty. However, I really have to work on getting my tax stuff organized because I have my appointment next week. So I’ll leave the glue, and paper and scissors hidden away. Sigh.
I wanted to showcase a couple of things, so I thought a hodgepodge was in order. Ooo…and I did a little reorganizing and redecorating on the blog this week. Hope you like it. I’ll be creating a new custom header sometime in the future, too.

Follow Friday Friends

I haven’t had a link party on a Friday in a long time. I’ve found that sometimes my page loads slower because of the linky tool. And now I just discovered that Linky Tools, which I’ve used for hosting my Follow Friday link parties in the past will soon begin charging. It won’t be more than $24 per year right now, but I can’t afford to pay for another service. So, I’m starting something new.

Friday will be Friend Friday where you can link your blog in the comments. That means you can paste in a hyperlink to your favorite blog post or most recent project right in your comments and I’ll let you “spam” me and brag on your blog! Of course comments will be moderated yet so that real spam doesn’t get through. (See my sample comments below)

And on Friend Friday, I’ll share blather on about a few of my favorite things from the week, or special offers that might interest my blog friends.

No other rules. No obligation to link back to me. However if you do want to share a link on your blog about my blog, that’s cool! And if you don’t mind, when I stop by your blog, I’ll include a link in my comments.

Recycling Idea
I had this simple little idea yesterday that isn’t so much decorative as it is functional, but I had to share! We have a pellet stove in our living room and it seems like when the box of matches starts to get beat up, they start spilling everywhere. And it looks ugly. So, I decided to put the matches in a jar. But since they are strike on box, I knew I needed those little strips from the side of the box. So I cut them off, and stuck them to the olive jar with double sided tape. Now isn’t that a clever way to recycle an olive jar?

Money Earning Opportunity
I’ve mentioned it before, but if you haven’t tried Swagbucks, you might want to check it out. I earned $25 in Amazon gift cards this month without investing a heap of time in it. I use their search engine, do my shopping through some of their sponsors, and take advantage of some of their special offers.

For example, last week, I bought a $20 Amazon gift card from one of their sponsors for $10. This week, I bought a Groupon for Bath and Body Works for $30 worth of product for $15 (You can give groupons as gifts too!). With each of those offers, I earned 280 Swagbucks which combined to enough for a $5 Amazon gift card.

My husband and teens like the games and TV features, which also earn bucks. And I’ve been printing and using coupons from their site and I’ve received 10 bucks for every coupon I’ve used at the store.

So many ways to earn! If you decide to sign up, click on any of the colored words in this paragraph or the banner below, and you’ll go straight to Swagbucks. Then, be sure to install the toolbar to your internet browser for maximum earning.
Search & Win
Have a GREAT WEEKEND!
Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Heirloom Children’s Rocker Re-Do

It’s Transformation Tuesday at T2T and just as promised, I have a fun project to share. A friend of mine asked if I’d recover a children’s rocker that had belonged to her father. Because of the sentimental value of the heirloom, she wanted to preserve it for her own boys.

It’s cute, but you can see why she wants to re-do it, right?

She selected the fabric. It’s 100% cotton by Waverly and the pattern is named Columbus Circle Spa. It has a brown background with circles of cream and bluish, grayish, green (can’t think of a better way to describe that color).
The photos just can’t do justice to the color, but it’s sweet.

I started by deciding which pieces of the old fabric to remove and which to leave. Now, you can certainly strip all of the old fabric off, but sometimes, I find it gives a little more stability to leave it on. However, sometimes it gets just too thick for nailing over and you have to take it off. It’s mostly tacked with nails and staples. The seat lifted right off.
  Some areas had been hand-stitched together, so I used a pointy scissors to remove the stitches.
The sides were attached with upholstery nails/tacks.
If you’ve ever removed old upholstery, you know that it’s a dusty job. The backing of the old fabric begins to disintegrate, which puts off dust, plus it’s just dusty from years of use. Achoo!
See the spiky nails? Watch out! I used the pieces that I removed to estimate the sizes I needed to cut for replacement pieces.
 With any sort of recovery project, it’s all about figuring out where to put staples. I pulled fabric around to the bottom to fasten it. See those staples sticking through the seat from where I stapled on the top side? I know how little children like to crawl under furniture, so later I would be sure to cover the bottom so they couldn’t scratch their little heads.
 When you recover an old chair, you can keep the padding that’s there, but it’s nice to add a little more to smooth it all out, so I used up some chunks of batting left from quilting. I just laid them over the old stuff and when the stapling begins for the top fabric, the batting will smooth out.
 When I got going, I realized that the old wood was not receiving staples so well and so I modified my plan. In the original covering, the outer surface of the sides were separate little pieces tacked on. However, for greater stability and durability, I decided to sew my outer side pieces to the inner side pieces. Yeah, I know, that’s as clear as mud. Let’s just say I had to do some sewing and modifying.
Same with the back rest. Instead of using two pieces and lots of staples, I sewed what was basically like a pillow case for the back and then stapled it at the bottom of the backrest where you can’t see.

The seat was the easiest part! Staple, staple, staple.
 If you have padded dining chairs, they are SO easy to recover. You just remove the seat from the chair and cut a piece of fabric bigger than the seat on all 4 sides. Then you staple it on all for sides, mitering the corners like you were wrapping a birthday present.
 If you’ve never reupholstered anything, this rocking chair is a little complicated, but the seat part shows you how easy it is to recover a chair seat. Just be sure that the staples are not longer than the thickness of the plywood seat. Ouch!
I went around all four sides of the seat. Notice I left on the old fabric. Since the new stuff is a thinner decorator fabric, I was afraid the plywood would wear through the corners really fast. So I left it on for stability and added a layer of batting too before putting the new fabric over.
The seat was ready to put into place. It’s attached with a couple of short wood screws.
And now it’s time for the reveal…
You’ll see that I used decorative upholstery tacks anywhere that I had to finish an edge that would show. On the underside, staples are fine, but decorative tacks are perfect for the outside.
You can see on the armrest and on the back where I have seams that I sewed. The rest is stapled and tacked.
 Just like I promised, I finished the bottom side too. The original was open. I cut four 1-inch wide strips of scrap cardboard (a cereal box works) that were the length of all four sides of the chair bottom. Then I cut a piece of fabric that was about an inch or two wider all the way around. By folding each side of the fabric over a strip of cardboard, it was easy to get a nice straight edge to staple that bottom piece in place. I could have done it without the cardboard, but this makes it neater. I didn’t worry about staples showing-it’s the bottom anyway.
Wondering about a few of the things I tried to explain? Check out the colored arrows below.
  • The green arrow shows where I put the tacks to hold on the “pillow case” that I sewed to cover the back.
  • The blue arrow shows where I put the staples to hold on the side pieces. There are staples under the seat, and under the bottom edge as seen by the arrow.
  • The pink arrow shows where I had to use decorative tacks. If I hadn’t sewn the edge along the top of the arm rest, I’d have had to do these decorative tacks on three sides (left, right, and top).
  • The red arrow shows where there is a little fold from tucking and smoothing. I hand stitched that across the edge by the arrow so that little people couldn’t stuff legos or playdough in the convenient little pocket it made.
  • The yellow area shows the seat that I covered separately.
  • The orange arrow points to a side piece that is a big piece that wraps from the inside by the seat all the way around to the bottom of the side. It’s also wrapped around the front of the arm rest and then folded with a nice pleat at the front edge (see red arrow).
Someday, I’ll have to video tape a project like this, but it’s kind of hard to hold the camera and work at the same time. Are you ready to tackle a small upholstery project of your own?
Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Life in An Estrogen Free Zone

I’m in the second week of the Beth Moore group Bible study on the book of Esther and it’s all about being a woman. Last night, during our group discussion the topic turned towards raising girls in our society and it got me thinking. That’s because I live in a virtually estrogen free zone, except for that which I supply. Life with three boys/men can get a little lopsided. But as I thought more, I realized that although I’m not raising a daughter, I am raising someone’s husband and someone’s father.
My boys will grow up to leave home (hopefully!!), and create families of their own. This means that the interaction in our home has everything to do with how they will treat their future wives and future daughters. It means I have a lot to do with their attitudes about women. Ironically, I had mentioned at Bible study how respectful my boys were towards women and that made me feel like a queen in my home. Sure, they make their share of messes, and they roll their eyes at my chick flicks, but they are respectful and kind. However, when I got home from Bible study, I questioned my boasting for a moment. 
I came up the basement steps from the garage and when I reached the top, I noticed a shadow under the stairway door. My husband and sons were home, so, I wasn’t terrified or anything. But when I turned the doorknob, the door opened only a few inches before bumping into resistance from the other side. I heard a snicker and then a blond head popped into the six inch gap. “Did you want to get through here?” He laughed. But he didn’t move.
More teasing from him. More pleading from me. But after a reprimand from his father, he finally let me through the door. Then he gave me a hug, “Just teasing you Mom.”
Photo linked from http://www.betterparenting.com/raising-boys-vs-girls/
“After I just got through telling my friends what kind and respectful boys you are.” I laughed.
Teasing comes with the territory in a no estrogen zone. They learned that from their father. But they’ve also learned not to push it too far. And I’ve learned that humor is a vital part of human interaction, especially for my boys.
For today’s practical, everyday idea, I’d like to discuss ways that we can raise boys who treat women with love and respect. I’ll share a few ideas here, and then I’d love to hear how you’re raising a son, how you’ve raised one who is happily married, or how you’ve impacted young men through your work and volunteerism.
  • I wait for my sons to open doors for me, including the car door when we all go somewhere. 
  • I’ve asked their dad to come to my defense any time they use a disrespectful tone with me.
  • I don’t let them order me around. Instead of, “Mom, I need two dozen cookies for school tomorrow,” I expect them to ask, “Mom, would you be able to make two dozen cookies for me to bring to school?” That goes way back to when they would ask for more juice. “More! More!”(banging of cup) wasn’t acceptable, but “May I have some more, please?” was acceptable.
  • We spend time together. They take turns going on “dates” with me once in a while, even as teens.
  • I’ve tried to teach them to be helpful. When I see a woman at church carrying a big box, I’ll send one of them over to assist. Now, they begin to notice themselves and run to help.
Now it’s your turn. How do you raise polite boys in the hopes that their wives will come and hug you someday?  

Remember your comments get you added to the January book drawing. You have 6 days yet to enter!

Muted Monday – Photo of the Week

It’s ironic, but I trap the mice in my home and take photos of sleeping gerbils that mysteriously resemble mice. Doesn’t their life look like one to envy? So simple. So peaceful. So connected with their friends and family. 

Ok, so it wasn’t really Muted Monday. I just had to say something about the picture. I have a cute T2T makeover project to show you tomorrow!

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Show Us Your Transformation & Link Up

Transformation Tuesday

It’s winter, and even though I’m not pregnant, nor do I ever plan to be again, I think I’m nesting. It’s cloudy outside. We get snow nearly every day. So, I’ve be puttering around the house cleaning this and sorting that. I gave the built-in hutch a fresh coat of poly since I had run out and didn’t give it enough way back when. I’ve organized my office, polished up the kitchen, and tossed a bunch of stuff. I promise, I kept my husband and teens!

This week, I realized that the counter top that I so painstakingly faux finished in the built-in hutch has just become an area to collect junk. Bills, mail, batteries (not sure why dead batteries keep turning up there like dead beetles or flies) scraps of paper, CD’s, phone books, and dust. So I decided to make it functional. 

It’s always been too dark for a buffet, but a trip to Menards (local home improvement store) and $24.95 later, I think it’s super duper! It’s the perfect Transformation Tuesday feature.  I installed a kit with 5 puck lights and it didn’t take long. Yes, I did it by myself!

Check out these pictures and then tell me what transformation you’ve done lately in the Linky section below. Did you make over a room, a T2T piece of furniture? Did you make over your schedule? Or your file system? Did  you lose a few pounds? Tell us about your transformation and post a link to your blog post.


I still need to tack the wires up with the special little doohickeys made for that. Just didn’t have any on hand right now.

Yep, that counter is fake. It’s all paint and poly. See the transformation here.
Here’s a closeup of a puck light. They can be recessed (which involves drilling LARGE holes for the light so that it can sit up under the counter) or they can be surface mounted (which is what I did because I didn’t feel destructive enough to drill huge holes).


Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream

Are you ready to do something Radical? David Platt wants American churchgoers to wake up and see how their prosperity is ruining the spread of the gospel. I just finished reading Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, where Platt challenges readers to consider how our culture has made us comfortable Christians rather than evangelists ready to take a risk for the gospel. We’re comfortable in our fancy churches, our padded bank accounts, and our safe little social groups with others like us. But, he reminds us that early Christians left everything to follow Christ including security, money, convenience, and family.

Platt advocates being radical, but he’s not unreasonable. He isn’t asking people to sell everything they have, leave their homes forever, or neglect their children. But he does challenge Christians to be willing to live with less and to give up some comfort for the sake of radical obedience to the call to spread the gospel. And he addresses nearly every excuse we might give.

I enjoyed the conversational style of the book and I also liked that the author was willing to be radical too. He didn’t just preach about it. He lived it. Most of what he spells out is right on with scripture. The only place where I wasn’t so sure was when he explained how all peoples have a knowledge of God. I could agree that they have a perception that there must be a supernatural power outside of themselves, as evidenced by how even pagan nations seem to set up some kind of worship system, however off-base it might be. But I couldn’t quite see that this indicated a knowledge of the one God Almighty. Other than that, I found this book to be a great scripture-based faith challenge.

The other thing I liked was that Platt ends the book with a radical challenge for readers. He asks them to commit to 5 things for a year. 1. Praying for the world. 2. Reading the whole Bible through. 3. Sacrificing money for a specific purpose. 4. Spending time in another context (giving in service in a way that spreads the gospel). 5. Committing to a local church that encourages discipleship (multiplying community).

I’ve been mulling over ways that I can implement this radical challenge in my own life. This isn’t the kind of book that you read and toss aside. The challenge keeps coming to mind as I examine my own comfortable surroundings. That’s what makes this a great book, I can’t forget the message!

Note: I received a free book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review.

About Author David Platt
Dr. David Platt is the pastor of the Church at Brook Hills, a four-thousand-member congregation in Birmingham, Alabama, comprised of world-impacting disciples who really believe that as a church they can shake the nations for God’s glory.
David’s first love in ministry is disciple making—teaching God’s Word, mentoring others, and multiplying the gospel. “I believe that God has uniquely created every one of his people to impact the world,” he says. “Some may count this view as idealistic, but I believe it is thoroughly biblical—rooted in Psalm 67:1–2, yet found in Scripture from beginning to end. God is in the business of blessing his people so that his ways and his salvation might be made known among all people.” To this end, David has traveled throughout the United States and around the world, teaching the Bible and training church leaders.
David has earned two undergraduate degrees from the University of Georgia and three advanced degrees, including a doctor of philosophy from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to coming to Brook Hills, he served the seminary as dean of chapel and assistant professor of expository preaching and apologetics and was on staff at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans.
David and his wife, Heather, are Atlanta natives who made their home in New Orleans until they were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. They live with their family in Birmingham.
Additional Info
You’ll find links to much more information about the book on the author’s book website. There are Bible study resources and much more that go along with Radical. Check out http://www.radicalthebook.com/links.html
Tell me what you think. Is it time for American Christians to get radical? Do our comforts prevent us from being bold in sharing our faith? Remember: Your comments get your name in the January drawing.

Creatively Organized

I’ve been working on getting organized for the past few weeks. I just read Getting Things Done: The Are of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen at the recommendation of a friend. I checked it out at the library and then renewed it so I could continue to work through some of the ideas. 

Yesterday, I parked myself at Panera Bread for a little while to brainstorm while I had lunch so that I could get the book back to the library. Allen has a lot of good ideas in the book, but the main idea is that if you get your to-do list out of your head and onto paper, you’ll stop obsessing about what you need to do all of the time. This will free up your mind for more creative pursuits. I think he’s onto something. When my mind spins with all that I need to accomplish, sometimes, I get nothing done because I don’t know where to begin. And my writing inspiration is all but gone when all I can think of are things I should do.

David Allen helps the reader figure out how to divide tasks into compartments such as phone calls to make, things to do at the computer, projects to do, etc. He describes several ways to set up a notebook or a file system where everything that needs to get done can get out of your head and onto a reminder list that works.

Then he also talks about how important it is to have actions steps on a to-do list, not just the end result. For example, if my to-do item is to organize my office, I would need to think of specific action steps to put on my list. Sort file cabinets. Get more manila folders. Process junk mail pile. You get the idea.

Now, for a system to work for me, it has to be functional and appealing. It’s just part of my creative side. I like pretty folders and baskets, but they can be expensive. So I’ve discovered some ways to organize on the cheap. Here’s one little thing I did. 

I needed to organize my notebook where I track piano students. I didn’t want to spend money on plastic tabs, so I went to my scrapbook supplies for inspiration. I was able to use scraps of paper to come up with this.

 The little tabs are made with a punch and I had plenty of little scraps to make a bunch of cute tabs.

 I was also using the labeler that day, so it ended up in the picture.

 You just punch the tabs, fold in half, and then attach with glue or 2-sided tape. Next I’m working on my to-do notebook using tabs to separate categories. Cute and functional. Win!


Need more organizing help? Check out 8 Ways to Simplify.


All comments left on the blog this month (not via e-mail or facebook) will qualify you for the January drawing for Your Money God’s Way. Multiple entries for comments on more than one post.
 

A Suitcase Transformed Into A…Can You Guess What it is?

I just had to show this this absolutely darling project for T2T Transformation Tuesday. But I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ll have to click over to Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone and see just what she turned this old suitcase into now. Hint…if you love “fur kids”, you’ll love this project!

Photo belongs to Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone

Over at Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone, you’ll find a fantastic tutorial for the project, plus some other cute pictures of the finished transformation.

It’s cute, fun, uses recycled junk, and it’s functional. How much more T2T can you get than that. Now, I just might have to get me a “fur kid”. 

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com