One Room Challenge: Week 3-Front Porch Makeover

Week Three means we’re halfway through the One Room Challenge, and I am nowhere near halfway through the amount of work that needs to be done, so this is the point where the panic just starts to kick in. But we did manage to get quite a bit done this week, and I feel a little more confident about the direction we’re heading.

As you may recall, I have a few furniture makeovers that I’m going to attempt, one of which was these bamboo nesting tables that I found at a yard sale for $4.

Nesting Tables

Well, this porch makeover, if all goes as planned, will be a lot of black and white, so I decided I needed a pop of color. I picked up a few paint samples, and settled on this Behr Ultra aqua color, Undine. I also used a stain I had on hand to stain the bamboo a slightly darker shade. Here’s the result:

Nesting Table Makeover 2

Nesting Table Makeover

I’m pretty happy with how they turned out; now they just need a coat of polyacrylic for protection.

As for the porch, we (meaning my husband, of course) did a little demo this week. We decided to take down the lattice (which I’ve always hated), replace a few handrail boards, and replace the ugly, bent, trailer-y looking supports with 4x4s.

Porch Construction 2

We will be putting up wood slats to give it a more traditional porch look, and it will all receive a fresh coat of paint.

As you can see, I still haven’t finished the porch floor. I gave it a second power washing with a more powerful pressure washer, hoping that would get the rest of the paint off, which it didn’t. So now, I have decided that I really, really, really don’t want to tackle stripping the porch, and I’ve settled on painting it instead of staining it.

That’s all for now. I’m so thankful for my husband, who did most of the work this week.

Hope you have a great weekend, and wish me luck! I plan to do a LOT of painting this weekend.

Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

One Room Challenge: Week Two-Front Porch Makeover

Welcome to week 2 of the One Room Challenge, where I have decided to makeover my ugly trailer’s front porch in 6 weeks with $200; I’m joining over 200 other bloggers in this challenge.

I’ll be really honest and let you know this week won’t be terribly exciting. I didn’t get a whole lot done.

Just as a reminder, this is the idea I’m going for with my makeover:

Front Porch Mockup

 

And since I didn’t share last week, here are a few images that I absolutely love and pulled inspiration from:

Inspiration 1

Woodsy Patio Hangout from cuckoo4design

 

Inspiration 2

Backyard Fire Pit from Blackbird

So this week, I began by trimming a few bushes. Here’s what they looked like before…

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…and here they are after I went to town on them.

Trimmed Bushes

Don’t judge my pruning abilities…I am no gardener. They look really sparse, but in order to open up the porch, I had to trim down to the level of the handrail, and all of the greenery was at the top. It made me a little sad, because they are really pretty bushes, but they were so overgrown that it had to be done, and I’m hoping they grow back in next year. I’m contemplating clearing out a flower bed around the bushes and adding mulch and a few flowers…if I have time, that is.

The next thing on the list was some power washing on the porch, which did wonders. You can see the finished and unfinished sides here.

Before After Washing

Porch After

I also got my stain for the porch, Behr Solid Color Weather Proofing Stain in Slate. And yes, it passed the puppy’s approval, just in case you were wondering.

Product Testing

I tried it out in a little patch to make sure it was what I wanted.

Stain

I love the way it looks. Unfortunately, there were 2 layers of paint, and while the pressure washing got rid of most of both layers, there are still traces of paint, which are not going to take the stain (as you can see where the shiny spots are). So, I’m going to have to use a paint stripper and scrape the rest off before I can finish the stain.

So, we’ll get there…slowly but surely. That’s all for this week. Be sure to check out all of the other bloggers over at the One Room Challenge…there is a ton of work being done, and so much inspiration to be found over there!

Until next week!

Rachel

One Room Challenge- Week One: Front Porch Makeover

Hey Y’all!

I know, I know…it’s been a while. I’ve seriously neglected this blog for a few months now, and thanks for being patient with me. I’ve been working on some things, and most importantly, working on establishing some good habits that were really important to me, and it’s been tough getting back into the groove.

So, I figured the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda at www.callingithome.com would be the perfect time to jump back in with both feet. Although, after the first round I completed back in November, and now that I’m fully aware of just how crazy it can be to makeover a space in 6 weeks, I have to be a little crazy to do it again. But at least I’m not the only crazy one; there are over 100 other people joining the challenge along with me. Be sure to follow their One Week Challenge along with me.

For this challenge, I will be making over my front porch. No small task. If you’re new here to the blog…welcome! If you’ve been following along, you know that my husband and I, our 4 kids, and 2 pets, all live in a less than 1000 square ft., old, dated trailer that we have been working on renovating, trying to make the most of what we have, and bringing our own style into this small space on a very limited budget. So far, we have finished our girls’ bedroom, our boys’ Star Wars Bedroom (from last fall’s One Room Challenge), our front room, and are in the middle of working on our kitchen (see here and here).

For the front porch, here’s what I have to work with:

One very ugly front porch:

Front Porch Before 3

Front Porch Before 2Front Porch Before 1(And here’s another shot with our pretty dogwood tree to distract you from the ugliness that is our front porch.

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Two IKEA wicker chairs (so old that IKEA doesn’t sell this particular model anymore and desperately in need of a makeover):

Ikea Wicker Chairs

Two awesome directors chairs my sister and I found at Goodwill for $15 each (which also need a makeover and to be made outdoor friendly):

Director's Chairs

This set of nesting tables that I got for $4 at a yard sale (add that to the ‘needs a makeover’ list):

Nesting Tables

 

So, yeah…the front porch is bad…really bad. I pretty much haven’t touched it in the almost 2 years since we’ve been here…totally NOT because I’m lazy…but because I wanted the before and after comparison to be THAT much more dramatic. Yeah, that’s what I’m sticking with.

Here’s a mood board of sorts to give you an idea of the look I’m going for, black and white like the rest of the inside with sort of a Moroccan, bohemian vibe with lots of greenery and copper accents:

Front Porch Mockup

What needs to be done:

-A good pressure washing

-Sanding/staining/painting the walls and floors (I’m thinking white for the walls and black for the floors)

-Possibly painting the ceiling for a pop of color

-Build new posts

-The aforementioned furniture makeovers

-Paint or stain the woodwork and trellis

-Make some throw pillows

-Come up with some creative, DIY planters and plant displays

-Find and install a new light

Oh yeah, and the kicker…my husband and I have agreed on a budget of no more than $200. No big deal. I can already see lots and lots of coffee in my future. Y’all wish me luck, and be sure to follow along!

Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

Downton Abbey Farewell Party (With Free Printables)

It’s the end of the world as we know it. No, I’m not talking about the GOP after Super Tuesday, although that statement would be an accurate description of what happened yesterday. I’m speaking of the end of Downton Abbey this Sunday night.

downton-abbey

I’m finding it hard to forgive Julian Fellowes for this devastating loss. I have faithfully watched this show and fallen in love with its characters and witty conversation ever since my first blissful introduction to (and subsequent binge-watching of) the first season on Netflix. But alas, all good things must come to an end.

If you’re still reading along, I’ll assume you’re a fan, too; otherwise, I can think of no good reason for you to still be reading. And so, dear reader, I offer you my sincerest condolences, as you will, no doubt, be feeling the loss as strongly as I.

My mom, sisters and I will be watching the the series finale (sob!) together this Sunday night, so I thought, why not throw a mini party to really live it up one more time?! On a side note, if you’re local, the Tennessee Theatre will be showing the finale; it’s free, you just have to wait in line the night of. For my family and I, there will be one too many tears shed for us to be comfortable viewing it in public.

With the impending finale, I’d like to suggest a few activities to get us in the early 20th century aristocracy mindset to really prepare us for this final viewing of our beloved show.

First off, I would suggest that we invest in a little bell, and do a little role-playing. Let’s pretend that our spouses/significant others are the butler, Carson, and be sure to ring our bells when we need something. We might even suggest that they dress up a little when they serve us dinner. Of course, we’ll never mention exactly what’s going on, just be sure to let them know, in great detail, what our expectations are. Secondly, I would suggest, for those of us who have children, that we dress them up in black, using our handy little bells once again, and let them know how we expect the house to be run, clean, dinner prepared, etc. During both of these activities, never, EVER, say thank you. Aristocrats do not thank the hired help. Will our spouses/offspring catch on to this little game? Maybe not, but if they do, hey, we could make this a thing!

Now that we’ve done these things to get us in the spirit, I’ll share a few things I’m making for our Farewell Party. As usual, I didn’t have a lot to spend, so I hit up the Dollar Tree and Aldis to see what I could find that I thought would work for a proper English tea party. The early century aristocracy may have shopped at Dollar Tree, I don’t know. I found tea biscuits, melba toast, silver plasticware, plastic champagne glasses and candlesticks at the Dollar Tree. Then at Aldis, I found some really good cheeses (including a delicious goat cheese with honey), assorted cookies, and some chocolates to round out the menu with tea and sparkling juice. I also found ingredients at Aldi’s to make these little blackberry brie tarts, lemon curd and these simple scones, and cupcakes.

Food Setup

Food From the Top

Then, to make things really interesting, I made these little cupcake toppers with some of the best insults and zingers from everyone’s favorite, the Dowager Countess.

Printout 2

Cupcakes and Flowers

I even made a printable so you could make your own. Just do one thing for me if you print off your own set and add them to your store-bought WalMart cupcakes (that should really make Lady Violet roll over in her well-appointed if somewhat fictional grave). Before you shove the entire cupcake in your mouth, arch your finely sculpted aristocratic brow (all pretend, of course; we all know most of us haven’t plucked our non-titled brows in two months), tilt your nose up a few inches in the air so that you are firmly looking down on your companion watchers, muster your most haughty and indignant British voice, and give your best Cousin Violet impression. Make us all proud.

You can download the printables here. Happy watching! May the finale be everything you hoped it would be!

Cupcake Toppers Closeup

Last Minute Gift-Wrapping Ideas from the Dollar Section (and a Teeny, Tiny House Tour)

It’s Christmas Eve Eve, and folks…we finally have a tree! Am I the only one who waits until the very, very last minute for shopping and wrapping gifts? I just finished up my shopping yesterday, and started wrapping today. I wanted to show you just a few cheap and easy gift-wrapping ideas that I’m using this year.

But first, let me take you on a little Christmas tour of my house. This holiday season, I’ve been taking it easy. No going all out decorating all over the house or spending days and days on a gallery wall like I did last year. It’s been a whirlwind couple of months, and I wanted to relax a little and try to enjoy the season. I haven’t really relaxed, but that was the idea, anyway.

I did, however, spruce up just a few little corners of my house just to make it festive enough to keep my kids happy.

I already shared with you my little corner where I made some DIY Christmas Art from my Stendig calendar that I wasn’t able to use this year.

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My mom gave me this pretty chalkboard pillow from Kirklands that she wasn’t able to use, and I added greenery from my yard to my little oil can planter. Just a tiny detail, but I love it.

Pillow 2

Oil Planter

Over on my chalkboard wall, I added a Christmas-y chalkboard art and prints, and hung Christmas paper plates…I don’t have any Christmas plates of my own and paper plates are cheap!

Accent WallChalkboard 2

Over on my entertainment center, I added a pine garland, which was so hard to hang! Let me know if you know of any tips or tricks for hanging live garland, because otherwise, I’m just getting a fake one next year!

EC

I made a print (you can download your own version here), and filled in the ampersand with a metallic gold marker. The 25 was from my Stendig calendar again.

Lastly, our tree corner. We have no floor space for a tree, so we got a smaller one to go on our entryway bookshelf. I added black and white ribbon and colorful bulbs, to keep with the black and white theme I sort of have going on. I wrapped the base with one of my scarves.

Tree and Noel

I made the Noel artwork with scrapbook paper, and cardboard letters with moss hot glued to them.

Noel CloseupNoel

And that’s it! Just a few simple accents to make it feel a little more like Christmas around here.

And now, as promised, just a few tips and tricks for gift-wrapping. The first two are kid-friendly, but hey, I’d be happy to get these gifts as an adult.

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For the first gift, I used black paper from WalMart (which also has a cute black and white chevron print on the other side). I wrote the words on the black paper with a chalkboard marker after measuring it out for the gift.

chalkboard marker

The pompoms are from the Dollar Tree, and I strung them with a needle and thread, then wrapped and taped them around the gift.

PomPoms

merry and bright

With the same paper, I used strips of glitter foam sheets also from the Dollar Tree to form a linear tree. I originally wanted to use washi tape for this, but at $2.50 per color for a total of $10…a $1 multi-colored pack from the Dollar Tree with just a little more work sounded better to me.

Line Tree

For the last gift, I used white paper from the Dollar Tree, scribbled on some Christmas trees with a Sharpie, and wrapped it with little tinsel from Walmart (just $1.50 per roll).

Tinsel

And lastly, just another little tip, these glittery bottle brush trees are from WalMart for just $.75 to $1. And I was able to use my Stendig calendar again! So glad I’ve been able to get some use of it since it broke my heart that I wasn’t able to use it for my house.

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Well, that’s it! I have plenty more gifts to wrap, and I’m sure you do too. Have a very Merry Christmas with your friends and loved ones. Thank you all so much for following along; I really appreciate each and every one of you!

DIY Stendig Calendar Christmas Art

This year for the Christmas season, I’m giving myself a bit of a breather from decorating and blogging so I can actually enjoy the season, and I’m just not going all out on my Christmas decor. However, I will be sharing a few little corners of my house that I’ve spruced up a bit just to make it a little festive and keep the kids happy.

Last year around this time, I was so excited to get my first Stendig calendar, and I had big plans for displaying it in my kitchen. However, I forgot to measure it, and it turned out that, sadly, it was too big to display anywhere in my house. I was very disappointed, especially because it was kind of a splurge for me to spend that much on something for my house.

Then, just a few days ago, I had the idea of incorporating it into my Christmas décor. So now, I am very happy to say, my beautiful Stendig calendar has gotten some use; not in the way it was designed, but it still makes me happy.

I used a page from my calendar to make a sort of a modern, design-friendly artwork with a bit of a play on an advent calendar.

I laid out my calendar page and picture frame, and measured the size I needed and placement I wanted with my picture frame.

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I grabbed a $.99 tube of green glitter glue from Walmart and outlined and filled in the 25, just to give it a little pop and emphasize the date for Christmas.

2221

After letting it dry thoroughly, I cut out my artwork and put it in the frame.

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I just love the bold, modern, graphic black and white look of the Stendig calendar, and since my front room already has lots of black and white graphic elements, I knew it would be perfect for that room.

I chose to display it on my Design Sponge inspired closet door, and added some bright, colorful ornaments with baker’s twine where my air plants used to hang.

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You’ll notice I also put peace on earth, so…you’re all welcome for that.

If you like this idea but don’t have your own Stendig calendar, you’ll be happy to know that, with just a few simple supplies (black paper, a cheap stencil set, a chalkboard marker, and a $.99 glitter glue tube…all from Walmart), you can make your own Stendig-inspired Christmas art.

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Just measure out a grid (my letters were 2″, so I made my squares 2.5″ tall and 4″ wide…room for 2 characters)…

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…pencil in your numbers with the stencils (make sure to right or left justify all of your numbers; as you can see, I right-justified mine)…

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…and fill the letters in with your chalkboard marker. Lastly, go back over the 25 with your glitter glue. Allow to dry thoroughly, frame it, and you have some really cute, modern Christmas art to display. Mine took me just about 30 minutes.

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So, there you have it! I’ll be bringing you a few more quick and easy decorating ideas like this one in the next few days, so stay tuned!

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Hope you’re enjoying your Christmas music, shopping, and peppermint mocha lattes as much as I am!

Until next time,

Rachel

 

 

I’m also sharing this project over at at http://www.remodelaholic.com.

What I’m Thankful For: The Negative Space

In my college drawing class, way, way back in the day, one of the first things we learned about was negative space. Negative space, which you’re probably familiar with, is (according to Wikipedia) “the space around and between the subject(s) of an image.” We did several exercises where our teacher would set up a little vignette, and ask us to draw not what we could see immediately, but to draw what we couldn’t actually see, the space around the objects. And as we drew the negative space, a shape began to form of boxes, or a bicycle, or a vase of flowers. The picture below is an example from my very first drawing class; not perfect, but you get the idea. This exercise not only taught us to expand our mind to see things differently and therefore draw more accurately, but it is also a powerful tool for creativity in art and design (see some great examples here).

Negative Space

As I’ve used this method over the years when drawing or designing or painting, I have been struck with the realization that this thing, this negative space, reminds me a lot of the presence of God. When you look at me, what you don’t see all around me, is guiding every step that I take, every decision that I make, and forms the shape of who I am as a person.

When you look at me, you may see a slightly frumpy, frazzled, disorganized, sometimes grumpy, always clumsy person who doesn’t command a whole lot of attention and certainly makes lots of mistakes…sometimes even yells at her kids (gasp!). But what you don’t see is that this somewhat unlovely and sometimes unlovable creature that you’re looking at is a beautiful masterpiece that He intricately designed and created into exactly who He wanted me to be, and He loves me so much that He sent His only Son to die for me, yes, me…the frumpy one…so I can live with Him in heaven someday.

When you look at me, you may see (on a good day) someone who looks happily married with four relatively well-adjusted kids. But what you don’t see is the scared, unmarried 22 year old pregnant girl who didn’t want anything to do with the father of her baby (my husband now), never wanted kids, and seriously considered having an abortion to cover up the mistakes she made. But God worked through those mistakes to bring my husband and I together; we had that beautiful, healthy baby boy, and went on to have three more, the best things that ever happened to me. I thank God every day that He didn’t allow me to go through with my plans for my life.

You may see a church-going “good girl.” But what you don’t see is that this “good girl” struggled with the worst attitude possible about church and God most of her life, and if it wasn’t for that same husband who took a stand and pressed the issue of church, could have very easily just walked away. But he kept me in church, and through hearing for myself and learning for myself, stopped looking at God as a Punisher to whom I could never measure up, and started to develop a very real, loving relationship with Him that has helped me in every area of my life.

You may see a creative (or maybe that’s just wishful thinking), but He is the One who gives me any good idea or talent that I am able to use.

And this presence, which I am so thankful for and which I can see so clearly as I look back through every circumstance and every mistake, gives me complete peace. It’s not just something that I believe because it’s what I’ve been taught all of my life, although I have. Just being taught something isn’t powerful enough to change a life. It’s something that I feel in my heart, and if I didn’t have this peace, I would have stopped believing in God long ago. It’s a peace that I don’t have to do anything for…I don’t have to pray more or work harder for it; it’s a finished work that Jesus already gave His life for. It’s a peace that, like He promised in Romans 8:28, He is working everything out for my good. Even if that means I lose everything tomorrow, I know He’ll give me the strength to get through it, and give me the peace to trust that He is working out His will in my life. It’s a peace that I will see my loved ones who have gone on before me again someday. It’s not something I can describe, and I know it doesn’t make sense looking at it from the outside, because it is a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). And it’s not something that makes me better than anyone else, because I’m {painfully obviously} not. I’m just an imperfect nobody who still does things wrong, but He forgives me when I do and gives me the desire and strength to do better the next time. It’s not something that is only for a select few “chosen ones.” It’s for anyone and everyone…no requirements, no prerequisites, no strings attached.

So, the next time you see a picture like the one above, or a beautiful silhouette, or notice the sun shining between the branches of a tree, or see a cleverly designed logo using negative space effectively, I pray that you will be reminded of the presence of God in your life, and I pray that you can look back at your life, and see the ways that God has led and directed in your own life. I might not be able to see it when I look at you, but it can be what forms something beautiful in your life as well.

If you would like to know more about this peace I’m describing, please, please send me a message…I’d love to talk to you. Or you can even read more about it from my church here.

Rachel

 

 

 

What I’m Thankful For: The People Who Love My Kids

My daughter Zoey has been a little fashionista since she was old enough to pull open her drawers, yank every item of clothing out of said drawers, and toss them with abandon sporadically around her room. That talent progressed to changing her outfits no less than five times a day shortly after she could walk. When we would take the kids shopping, she would, without fail, walk straight past the toy aisle and head straight for the sparkly, flowery, shiny shoe aisle. And she hasn’t slowed down. She has a very distinct idea of what she thinks is cute; in this case (picture above), it was two skirts, one as a shirt, and Mommy’s heels…of course. She LOVES clothes. And she loves dressing up.

A few weeks ago, we received a package in the mail from a dear friend addressed to Zoey. She was so excited to get her very own box in the mail. We opened it up to find the cutest book with her name, which surely must have been written just for her, Zoe Gets Ready. It was all about a little girl trying to figure out what she wants to wear based on the adventures she thinks she might be getting into that day, all the while wildly flinging clothes in every direction, as she changes outfits over and over again. It was so perfect, so my Zoey. Inside was a little note from my friend, saying it reminded her of Zoey, and she even personalized the book with little y’s to make the spelling the same as my Zoey’s name.

I can’t even tell you how much that meant to me. I love my kids more than anyone else in this world (along with God and my husband). And to know that someone else would see this book, know my little girl well enough to recognize this unique little thing in my little girl’s personality, think of her, and take the time to send her a sweet little package, just meant the world to me. It was so incredibly special. And this story is far from being the only time people have singled out my kids, have seen something special in them, and have treated them with extraordinary love and kindness. I’ll never forget when we were moving from Delaware to Tennessee, the sweetest couple took all FOUR of my kids out to eat so we could finish up our packing. And then there are the grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, Sunday school teachers, friends and fellow parents…so many, many people who pour hours of their time loving, soothing, admonishing, babysitting, teaching, preparing lessons for, playing with, dancing with, and getting into deep conversations about really interesting things like Pokémon with my children. Your time and love and special attention and patience do not go unnoticed. We as parents notice it all, and we’re so very grateful for you.

I think I can speak for all parents when I say that there is no greater gift that you could possibly give those of us who are parents than to love our kids. To spend time with them, get to know their personalities and what makes them special. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts when you’re patient with them even when they act up a little (or a lot!), give them great big bear hugs after they’ve been playing outside and smell like sweaty old goats, really listen and let them know you care when it’s obvious they’re upset about something (usually) ridiculous. They’re not always easy, and trust us, we know that better than anyone…we live with them. But you love them anyway. You patiently draw them out of their shells when they’re shy but you can tell they want to get involved. You give them little toys and pieces of candy to see their little eyes light up with excitement. And sometimes, you have to get onto them when you know they’re doing something we wouldn’t want them to do. All of this is such a gift to us parents.

So, to the people who love my kids…you’re my favorites!

 

 

 

To the Woman Who Just Said Something Stupid to My Daughter with a Birth Defect

You stood behind me in the checkout line, and distractedly smiled at my three year old playing in her shopping cart seat. When I told her she couldn’t have the $20 microscopic stuffed doll at checkout, or the ten yard roll of bubble gum, OR the lollipop as big as her face, she started crying and throwing a fit. I saw the shock on your face when you noticed the formation of veins over her right eye turn dark blue and purple and swell so big that it looked like it might pop any second as she was crying. I saw you quickly mask the look of shock, and I could practically read your mind as you scrambled to say something nice to recover from your look of horror. I heard the hesitation in your voice as you asked my 3 year old, “What happened, sweetie?” and nervously laughed, “Did you get in a fight?” I explained to you that my little girl was born with this abnormality, that it was called a venous malformation, and that she has had three surgeries to try to alleviate the swelling and obstruction of her vision. And if you’re anything like me, I imagine you got in your car on the way home, mulling the situation, kicking yourself for not being able to say something nicer or more clever to alleviate the awkwardness of the situation. I imagine you agonized that you said the wrong thing, worried that you may have offended me, or caused my 3 year old emotional harm.

But here’s what I want you to know. It’s ok. You’re good, she’s good, I’m good…no harm done. You don’t have to stress out about what you did or didn’t say to me or to her. You can freely and openly ask me about her face. You can ask me what we plan to do about it, you can ask if it will get better eventually…anything you’re curious about. Your kids can point and ask her what happened, and she’ll happily tell them that she was born with it, that it doesn’t hurt her, and that she goes to the doctors to try to fix it (although it will probably never go away completely). If you (or your kids) do end up saying something arguably offensive, I’m not going to be upset. I don’t expect you to know about her condition; there are so many differences and disabilities out there, I couldn’t possibly expect you to know about it or understand what she has to go through because of it, so feel free to ask me questions. I won’t write you an open letter schooling you on the 10 things I wish you knew about her condition. Why? There are two reasons.

The first reason is, I want to treat it like a normal thing, and it is to us. I don’t want to handle her or her condition with kid gloves, and I don’t want her to think people need to walk on eggshells around her, careful about what they say. I refuse to let her grow up with a chip on her shoulder, just waiting for someone to say something insensitive so she can be hurt and offended. I believe that starts with me and how I handle these situations, because she learns how to respond by watching me. We don’t try to cover it up, we don’t whisper about it, and we don’t expect anyone else to whisper about it. We talk about it openly, she talks about it openly…we’re even able to be lighthearted and joke about it sometimes.

Secondly, I’ve been where you are. I would never in my lifetime purposefully say something to hurt someone, or say something insensitive to someone dealing with differences, physical or behavioral. But, even I, cautious almost to the point of silence, have said my share of really stupid things. And, let’s face it, in spite of our best attempts, we all stick our feet in our mouths at some point in our lives, some of us more than others. Granted, there are a few miserable, ugly people out there who do intentionally say rude, hurtful things (cough, cough…Donald Trump). But I refuse to believe that most people are trying to be rude or insensitive when they say thoughtless things about any of the ways that she is different, that I am different, or anyone else in my family is different. It might make me a little naïve, but I will always give you, the sayer of stupid things, the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you didn’t mean anything harmful or insensitive, and didn’t think about the implications of what you were saying. So when you tell me that it’s a good thing she’s a girl so she can put makeup on it, I’m going to assume that you were just looking for something positive to say about a negative situation, and not that you were suggesting that it’s something that needs to be hidden or covered up. When you give her a second glance and cautiously check me or her Dad out when you see her “black eye,” I’m going to assume that you’ve probably seen a thing or two and are genuinely concerned about the welfare of my child, and not be mortally offended that you think I abuse my child.  Could you maybe do the same for me, the next time I slip up?

Now, I’ve been to enough children’s hospitals in the past few months to know that what my daughter deals with is very low on the scale of abnormalities and conditions and diseases and defects and handicaps that other children and adults deal with daily. The point of this article is not to criticize what others have done or said or written, because I can’t speak for what they have gone through; I’m merely offering a new perspective, voicing a different option. I suppose we could all walk around looking for something to be offended about, because we all have differences. But this creates a culture where no one talks to each other because we’re all scared we’ll say something wrong. And believe me, I would so much rather have an actual conversation with you about my daughter’s abnormality, even if that means that you say something questionable in the process, than for you to awkwardly avoid looking our way or glare at me suspiciously.

It seems to me, that those of us who expect the most tolerance about our differences should be as willing to be open-minded when interpreting what people say about those differences. For myself and my peace of mind, and for my daughter’s sake, I will always give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume the about your intentions.

Star Wars Boys’ Room Reveal: One Room Challenge, Week 6

Well, it’s finally here! The day of the big reveal! As usual, I’ve been working on this room up until the very last minute, but I am very happy to say, I’m done.

If you haven’t been following along, the One Room Challenge is an event that Linda at Calling It Home hosts where over 150 bloggers have been working on finishing one room for the last six weeks, and sharing their projects along the way. To get caught what I’ve been doing the last 5 weeks, check here:

Week One: The Plan

Week Two: Bedside Lego Station

Week Three: Star Wars Mural

Week Four: DIY Star Wars Bedding

Week Five: Restoration Inspired Industrial Star Wars Dresser

If you’re new here to my blog, let me just explain that I live in an old, run-down 1970s trailer (less than 1000 square feet) with my husband, four kids and two pets. Slowly but surely, my husband and I have been working on renovating it, but on a very, very tight budget.

So, in keeping with that theme, I wanted to fix up my boys’ room and make it something special that they loved for as little money as possible. They (along with every other boy on the planet) are really big into Star Wars right now, so that’s what we decided to work with.

Here is what the room looked like originally:

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And this was the general plan for my design:

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I wanted a spacey, Star Wars look, but with modern, industrial accents to keep it grounded and not too over the top theme-y. I will say, it did end up being pretty theme-y, but they love and I’m happy with it.

What I worked on this week was the second duvet cover, the second dresser makeover

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…hanging curtains (just regular black curtains that I spray painted with a similar technique as the mural to look galaxy-esque)…

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…hanging a few more shelves, and then the biggest project was my wall art. I used wood letters from Wal-Mart, attached them to the wall with Loc-Tite fun tak, painted them the color of the wall, and then went back and highlighted one word in each phrase with silver craft paint for a little something extra. I had a little help from my son here (they both were cracking up over the “lik my father before me”).

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The “I am a Jedi like my father before me” has special significance because my son’s name is Luke and his Daddy’s name is Luke. The lightsaber wall lamps are Uncle Milton lamps from Amazon that my sons got to put together themselves.

And now, I’ll just try to take you on a tour around the room.

I made the duvet covers with 2 $5 sheets painted with fabric paint because I couldn’t afford the IKEA version that I wanted at $50 a piece. The accent pillows are made from pillow cases, a stencil that I made (you can download it here for the Millennium Falcon and here for the Death Star), and fabric paint.

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We made the bedside Lego station with $4 IKEA shelves and a $7 IKEA table.

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I painted the mural with chalkboard paint, metallic spray paint, and chalk.

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I made over my childhood dressers with metallic spray paint, craft paint, polycrylic, and thumb tacs.

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And that’s it! Another room completed! Let me know what you think, and be sure to check out the final reveals of the rest of the designers for the One Room Challenge. I’m headed there now!

Rachel

I’m also sharing this room makeover over at http://www.remodelaholic.com.