Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Living Room Makeover

Do you ever think you need to spruce things up but don't want to just ditch everything? Or, maybe you do want to ditch everything but can't afford to do it all at once... Well, that is what I was faced with when a friend asked for help in her home. She will be hosting a bunch of guests in the upcoming weeks as her daughters graduate; one from grad school and the other from high school. I had a $1000 budget and went to work.

A few weeks ago I shared with you the fireplace makeover. This was an inexpensive update and an easy-peasy DIY project that took less than a day. The brick is actually brick-face and the surround sported a dated brass finish. Originally, I thought the style to be 1970's-ish but have since learned the house was built in the 60's. I do think all this was original and thus in desperate need of a face lift.

Without making the room look overdone she wanted a feel of the ocean in the room. I chose a soft shade of gray/beige for the walls. It reads more gray but browns work well with the color, too. I used Sherwin Williams Grayish for the walls and Sherwin Williams Pure White for the trim. I carried the color down the hallway and stopped at the adjacent dining room wall (for now). First, let's take a look at some BEFORE photos.

The living room has a large three piece picture window. Privacy is an issue. For convenience, maintenance, and economical reasons I chose faux wood blinds in a chestnut color. These were ordered to fit inside the framing. I purchased them on line through Home Depot. I framed them with four curtain panels. I reused her curtain rod and fed the panels to hang on either end as well as where the windows divided. These provide color but don't need to be moved as the blinds are more than adequate to provide privacy.

The mantle, purchased on line through Home Depot, was not finished as I wanted to try to finish it to compliment the blinds. I applied Minwax English Chestnut and two coats of polyurethane, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly.

I purchased an 8x10 area rug from Lowes. In my local store they have a section set up that has curtains, rugs, accessories and paint all displayed in complimentary groupings. This makes it super simple for people who are afraid to make those decisions.

Family is extremely important to my friend and she wanted to be sure her photos were a part of the space. There were over 30 photos! Frames can be expensive. I shopped in Walmart and craft stores for inexpensive frames. I did not want them to all be the same, I chose three colors/styles; black, white and gray.

I found a television cabinet on a local Facebook page for less than $100. I loaded that puppy up in the back of my SUV, brought her home, cleaned her up and she was ready for the new room.

Simple candle sticks and candles from a discount store adorn the mantle. I had a jar I filled with purchased 'beach glass' and some silk hydrangea from the craft store.

Soon there will be a family portrait above the mantle painted by one of the daughters. Presently, it is in an art show so I lent my framed poster print by Edward Hopper. I think it's called Coast Guard Station. I cut the poster to fit my frame and it hung in my bedroom for about ten years until I just recently redecorated in there. I think it stands in nicely until the permanent artwork is available.

I bought a throw blanket to bring some of the colors in the curtains to the other side of the room. A tray (which was actually a unclaimed lid to a box at Home Goods that I got for a few dollars) and a fake plant sit atop the two footstools doubling as a coffee table. A couple homemade art pieces rounded out the accessories in the room. A galvanized letter for the family's last name and galvanized clock are incorporated into the gallery wall over the television.

Eventually, my friend will purchase new furniture but for now this will work. It looks neat, clean and comfortable. She is happy with the results and so I am, also. As finances become available we can move into other parts of the house but for now we can all agree that this was a welcome and much overdue makeover.

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read through this post. If you enjoyed visiting with me please consider subscribing by email or following along on social media. All the links can be found in the column to the right.

Hope you have a great day! ~Jolena

* This post was in no way sponsored by any of the companies or products mentioned in the post. Although, I would not be adverse to considering an affiliation. :)

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Monday, May 8, 2017

My Dreaded Chore; A Work Of Delight

Spring time for me is like catching your breath after holding it for sooo long. I can't wait til the days are warm enough to get outside and start the clean up. Garden beds need dead leaves removed, old stalks cut back, weeds pulled and a good basic cleaning. I am not a fussy gardener. I am rather lazy, truth be told. I like to plant something once and leave it-hence the lazy part.

As much as I love the color that comes alive and the flowers that come in an out of season there is one thing about all this beauty that I dread.... weeding! Weeding. (sigh) I know that weeding is going to make my hands hurt, the next day I am not going to be able to walk right because of all the kneeling and deep knee bends. I'm going to be dirty, sweaty, my eczema will blow up on my hands and wrists from the work gloves, and I will have heebie-jeebies thinking deer ticks are hiding on me. I'll be scratched and pricked from rose thorns and cactus. I will attempt to do everything in one day because I know that it will be so unpleasant that I will not want to go back at it the next day. That only adds to the pain.

But...as I am on my hands and knees, lamenting the fact that I should have let my city-boy husband just pave the whole thing when we moved in, God is faithful to meet with me.

Each blade of unwanted grass is a reminder of the curse. Because of Adam's sin the ground was cursed. Why is it so hard to pull up? Thoughts of my own sin creep in. Why is it so hard to let go of some of the things I struggle with? Why can't I just repent of them and be done with them. They hold onto me tightly not wanting to be eradicated. At times, the best I can manage is to pull the tops off but the roots are left to spring up anew; much like this  ajuga weed that pops up everywhere.

Why do the weeds grow up in the midst of my flowers? How do I get them out without disturbing or pulling up the things that are meant to grow there? I think about how Jesus said the the wheat grows up with the tares (weeds).

Matthew 13:24-30 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

The lesson here is plain, right? But God pressed and I considered how wheat and tares grow up in my own heart. The good things I do are intermingled with my sinful desires and attitudes.  My motives, good and bad, are thriving together in the same soil. My flesh, old nature, old man is the enemy of God and loves sin. Like Paul I can bemoan my condition: 

Romans 7:18-20 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

Each spring I come to my gardens and see things growing that seem pretty, good to the eye. Sometimes I don't know they are weeds until they reach maturity. Sometimes I suspect they may be weeds but I take a wait and see attitude. And, sometimes I know they are weeds but I leave them because I like their beauty. 

Hebrews 11:24-25 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

Weeds can be beautiful and sin is pleasurable...but that is part of a master deception. Weed's beauty and sin's pleasure are fleeting- they don't last. They have no eternal worth. The fact of the matter is that they are destructive, eternally destructive left unchecked. Weeds, no matter how beautiful, will only grow more weeds. When left to their own they will choke out or overtake a bed of beautiful, cultivated flowers. While the weeds are growing up next to my flowers, herbs and vegetables they are stealing the good food from the soil that is meant to nourish my beloved blooms. As sin in me is left unchecked or allowed to flourish it, too, will only serve to overtake the good things that God has worked in me.

As master of my gardens it is my job and joy to tend my gardens just as it brings God delight to tend to his children. It grieves my sinful, broken heart to see all the mess of these early spring beds but how much more does it grieve my holy, perfect, heavenly Father to see the weeds of sin that have sprung up in me?  In my garden it is at my discretion to allow the weeds to grow with my plants so that I do not destroy the good just as God does with us. Occasionally, I have to make the hard decision to turn the whole bed over and remove the good with the bad.... This is also God's prerogative. 

I pray that as I spend the next few months tending to the gardens and enjoying the sunshine that God will continue to meet with me there. I pray he continues to pluck up the weeds of sin making way for the beauty, cultivated by his hand, to flourish. As he does this in me I pray that I can be faithful and not fearful to share with you what the Lord is teaching me, that it might also bless you.  I praise my God that even in the chore I dread he is so gracious to turn my thoughts to himself, while on my knees he feeds my soul, and he makes my work a delight.