Thursday, March 30, 2017

Laundry Room Makeover (DIY)

We have lived in our home for almost 9 years now, which seems totally crazy. The years keep flying by. We moved in with two toddlers and a newborn and the only thing we did right away was paint over the awful dated wallpaper in the kitchen.  It was the one thing I knew I couldn't live with.  The house had pretty much been renovated before we bought it.  It just wasn't necessarily "us" but it was nice and livable and nothing "had" to be done right away.....except for that kitchen.  We moved from an older, historical home that we had also done a lot of renovating on ourselves.  We loved that house so much and still do but we were simply outgrowing it.  The moment I walked into our current home, I knew it was right.  I could see our family living here. I couldn't even tell you why it was right really...I just knew it was. 
Slowly but surely, as our four children have gotten a bit older and as time and money allows, we have been working on making this home truly reflect our style and personality.  And I must say, I am completely smitten with it now.
The most recent renovation was our laundry room and I love it so much! I actually want to be in there. I call that a success right there, my friends.
This is the room before.  That sliding door used to lead to a bathroom but we blocked that off in our last renovation as we created a new master suite. So, now to block it off on this side.
Ah, that's better. 
We used the same tongue and groove pine wood that we used on previous projects, but rather than staining it, we painted it white to create a shiplap look. This is a small space with great natural light coming in the window so I wanted a nice clean and bright space.

 This is now my new view.  (insert nerdy giggling and ridiculously large grins)
We replaced the floors with a durable vinyl floor that looks like weathered oak hardwood. And my husband made this amazing folding station for me out of pallets.  I added some paint and stain and voila!
Isn't it so happy?! My laundry baskets slide in and out. I have one for clean and one for dirty.
What's that you say? A family of 6 and you have simply one for clean and one for dirty?! 
Simplify has been a running theme in my mind and in my heart for several years now.  Laundry is inevitable.  There are 6 of us and I am so grateful that we have clothes to wear and get dirty in the first place.  And then the means to conveniently wash them in our own home. 
Yet, I still felt like there was a better way to simplify this process and make me less crazy!  I've tried several ways in the past.  We simplified everyone's closet and wardrobe, which is very helpful.  We used to have a hamper in everyone's bedrooms which was counterproductive in my opinion.  Then, I tried a big hamper with four separate slots in the laundry room which only made me think I had more time before I "had" to tackle laundry.  So....1 basket for dirty and 1 basket for clean it is. And you know what? It is working beautifully! We get it done and it stays caught up!  Crazy awesome!

Simplified....and pretty too.  I am a firm believer in making your space beautiful; a place that consists of beautiful moments and collected things that bring a smile.  This is our home and I love making it a place of beauty.

Our home actually has quite a lot of closets for the size of it.  But since we don't have a garage or a mudroom type area or pantry, we still needed more storage for bulk grocery store items, laundry items, and random things that don't have a designated place.
So, hubby to the rescue again with the free pallets from our sweet friend!  He made this monster of a shelving unit and I added some white paint.  It is so big that I wanted it to blend into the white walls rather than being a statement piece.  It has been SO nice having this storage now.
Isn't it crazy how much lighting can truly change the feel of a room?  We had just your typical inexpensive flush mount light in here before, came with the house.  This new light came from Lowes. It's a brushed aluminum and just looks modern and clean which is my fav!  We bought a oiled bronze finish ceiling medallion to cover the hole from the old light and I actually love the contrast.
 I added this fun textile to the room recently. I bought this kitchen towel at IKEA about a year or so ago because it just made me smile. I love the pop of green, the strange old man, and the "do you dig?" text on it, so much!
And the shelf in front of the window has proven to be the happiest little spot in the whole house.  I keep adding more plants.  They love it there and I love them there.

The actual transformation of  the laundry room took one weekend.  We had to use another weekend to build the two shelving units because ya know, we have jobs and children to school and care for. ;)  I seriously love this space now...makes me smile every time I look in there from the kitchen and I love doing laundry now!

Cost Breakdown:
-Light- $19.98
-ceiling medallion- $9.98
-Shiplap wall- $20.00
-White paint (for walls and shelf)-$20.00

Grand Total- A full laundry room makeover for about $220.00!!

Hope you enjoyed viewing our latest renovation and more than that, I hope it has inspired and encouraged you to do your own!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Henna Hair Dye, Oh My!

Well, hello there!
Let's talk about hair today.  To be more specific, lets talk about hair dye.
I don't know about you, but I love changing my hair! I've had red hair (in various shades), black hair, plum hair, rainbow hair, highlights in various forms, and even platinum blonde!  And that just covers my hair color...doesn't even touch my hair cuts and styles over the years. 
Ahem...I might have a problem.
I love change. I crave change. And I figure with grows back and if the color is awful, then I can always just put my natural dark hair color back in. So, why not?!
I've truly loved the different colors and had so much fun with the changes over the years but you know what I always discover....I actually love my natural hair color the best.
Go figure..the color that my Creator gave to me.
So, I always end up going back to that.  Silly me.
Alas, fast forward a few years (ahem) and here I am simply wanting something healthy and sustainable to keep my natural color looking pretty and without gray.
Good did I get here?!
Those stubborn, determined little grayish white hairs have been making an appearance over the last few months and let's just say, I am not a fan.
My son walked by the bathroom door not long ago and caught me with my weapon in hand (tweezers), right in the middle of a full on war against the gray team.  Though I suppose plucking them out one by one as they appear is not the best long term plan.
Insert Henna.
I have always wanted to try Henna hair color because I truly truly dislike the chemicals in the hair color.  I've made great efforts over the last several years to rid of the chemicals that go into my body and on my body and hair color is the last biggie to go.
I've had this Henna since Christmas.  Every time I began to read up on it online, I was left totally freaked out and intimidated by other blogs and reviews on the whole process.
But, in true Jenny style, I decided on a whim the other day that I was just going to do it and so I did.

So, the henna powder is green...and mud-like once you mix it...and smells very earthy, but that part works in my favor because I love that.  It may not, however, work in anyone else's favor around me.
I used a product called Rainbow Henna, in dark brown.  Be careful to read the ingredients when purchasing henna hair color, just like anything else, some products have added ingredients that aren't that great for you.  This one is simply henna and indigo powder.  Henna itself gives beautiful red tones but when indigo is added, you end up with a beautiful dark brown.
I added copper highlights to my hair a few weeks before doing Henna because I wanted the highlights to show through the henna to give my color some depth.  And it worked!
The cool thing about Henna hair color is that not only is it incredibly healthy for your hair, it is not harmful to your body at all AND you have all of these fun options!

Henna Add in's:
-mix with strong brewed coffee instead of water to deepen your brown tones
-mix with red fruit tea instead of water for more red tones
-mix in cinnamon powder for more auburn tones throughout
-mix in ginger to help with the earthy smell
-mix in an egg, yogurt, or coconut oil to help deep condition your hair even more
-mix in Apple Cider Vinegar to help the henna give your gray hairs better coverage

You mix the henna in a plastic bowl with your liquid of choice until its creamy like yogurt.  Then apply using a hair color brush or your hands...wear gloves!

I used brewed coffee in place of water and added some cinnamon and apple cider vinegar,

I sectioned my hair, put on some gloves, and just used my hands to saturate my hair with the henna goop.
Then, you wrap your hair in plastic wrap, followed by a plastic grocery bag. This keeps the heat in and allows your color to set.
I kept mine on for about an hour, maybe a tad bit longer.

Then, looking all stylish, set your timer and go about your business, ignoring the many clever comments from your children.

Times up!

It's now or never...

Heck yeah! My natural color, with pretty auburn highlights throughout and my hair is silky soft!  Seriously, it made my hair look and feel so healthy.

Ladies, I will be using Henna a lot in the future. It will now be my go to and I can't wait for Fall to try some more red tones mixed in!

The one jar I purchased was less than $20 on Amazon and it will get me 2-4 more color jobs before it's gone!  Say whaaaaaaat???!!!!

Oh, and ignore the scary stories of henna all over your bathroom and staining everything in sight! unless you're just slinging the henna loaded hair color brush around like a crazy person, then I'm not quite sure how that happens.
I didn't cover everything in sight. I just wore an old t-shirt and headed to the bathroom counter and mirror.  That's it.

Now, go get you some!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Finding the Extra in the Ordinary

We live in a world full of noise; physical noise and head noise.  From the time our feet hit the ground in the morning, noise fills our hears, our minds, and our hearts. No, actually, from the time our eyelids open, there is noise; alarm clocks, text alerts, checking social media before even leaving the bed... noise, constant noise.
Not all noise is bad of course. Music, laughter, birds singing in the trees, hearts being shared and poured much beauty to be heard.  Though, I find that we so fill our days and lives with such an abundance of noise, that we often cannot fully appreciate the beauty in the sites and sounds around us in the every day....the extra in the ordinary.

Remarkable. unusually great.

no special or distinctive features. uninteresting. average.

I don't believe our days were meant to be ordinary.  I believe that our mere existence in this grand world obliterates that theory altogether. Boom. Done. Moving on.
However, we can certainly walk out these extraordinary lives in an ordinary simply not seeing the extra in the ordinary.

There is nothing extraordinary about these photos in and of themselves.  They are small glimpses into my day to day, into what can easily seem like my ordinary life.
There are two things that make these photos extraordinary and they are HUGE.



Choosing to see the EXTRA in the ordinary.

Seeing the sunlight bounce around, cast shadows and illuminate all in its path will never seize to bring me to a place of awe...its beautiful...pleasing to the eye and nourishing to my soul.


...will always cause contrast and make it's presence known.  It's the very thing that cast beauty onto even the most ordinary of things.

We have a choice every single day of our lives.

We can choose to stop for a moment, look up from our screens, take our minds off ourselves and our plans, and look around....
...breathe in the extra in the ordinary.

See the beauty bouncing around like rays of light...all throughout your days here.

When you choose to see the extra in the ordinary...everything becomes extraordinary.

Monday, February 27, 2017

It's All Grace

As I sit here at my desk, I find myself staring at this plant; this sweet little succulent that is perfectly placed in front of the window, with the sun casting it's rays to create these lovely shadows and pockets of light.  I love plants, especially these cute little guys.  But dang it, I keep coming into my newly remodeled creative space, sitting in this chair, and desperately wanting to create something. 

My soul needs it; this space of my own; this place of retreat in the chaos of life; the act of creating something.  Yet, this is the third time I have entered this room and sat at this desk to find myself simply staring at this plant.  It's all I can do.  I am emotionally exhausted and spiritually strained. 

You see, life has been hard lately.  There has been loss and pain, hurt and shame.  We've walked along and beside, sat in hospital rooms and funeral homes, cried with friends who are struggling, fought on our knees for our children's hearts......and the day to day has to.  People need to eat and learn and have clean clothes.

One more load of laundry.....push back the darkness....prepare dinner....push back the darkness....gather school supplies...push back the darkness....
.......and I just sit here staring at this plant. I'm tired. I don't want to push back anymore. It's too hard. 

No one prepared me for children growing older and it being harder.  We got past diapers and sleepless nights and all of my children can absolutely do most things on their own.  Isn't it supposed to be easier now?

No one prepared me for the war that is waging on their hearts.  Oh God, be near. 

No one prepared me for sweet friends losing their husbands far too early and far too young and losing our friend. Oh God, be near.

No one prepared me for how my heart would ache and break for the broken lives, the hurting, the hungry, the enslaved....

And just then, the Lord spoke back to my heart the very same sentence I had just spoken days ago to a sweet friend...
"The hurt is so very hard, but it is necessary."

I know He's right.  I have a story of pain and hurt and shame just like so many of us do.  I know that in my darkest of times, that my God made himself so very present.  The sweetest times with my Savior have always been in the darkest of times....always.
I know He's right. 

But my heart just wants to honestly kick and scream a little and say, NO.
The hurt is's painful.  BUT, it is absolutely necessary. 

If I believe what I say that I do; that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins; that His death was enough to pay for the weight of my sin and yours; that my life is not my own; that I exist here now to share the love that He has shown me; that my sole purpose as His child is do just that unto His glory....then I have to keep pushing back the darkness to let the light shine through.  I have to. I get to.  I will.

But I don't always feel like it.  I feel weak and tired.

And then I open my bible in search of scripture to read over my son....
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
I stop.  I read it again. And again. And again.

He always knows exactly what I need and when I need it.
"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

So friends, I am weak.  I do not have this whole parenting, schooling, mentoring, homemaking, ministry, life stuff figured out.  By the incredible grace of God, I am learning every single day. By His mercy, I am still here and getting to live this life.
Because sprinkled about in the midst of the hard are so many beautiful pockets of light and beauty and growth and much joy to be had....
...but we must keep pushing back the dark in order to see.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Painted Leaves- Simple Fall Decor DIY

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

Fall....I. love. everything about it!  The breeze blowing and the leaves raining.  The cool crisp mornings and the sunny afternoons.  Nights by the firepit, hanging out with the stars.  The amazing display of color that God splashes on the leaves.  Coffee just taste better in the fall....and that's saying a lot from this coffee lovin gal.  Excuses to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa loaded with marshmallows and.....pumpkin....give me all of the pumpkins!

I love bringing touches of fall to my house each year, a little inside and a little outside.  But just a little. I've found over the years that I am happier with simple decor and touches of color in my home. Plus, I don't like to have to store a lot of things, nor do I have room to store a lot of things!

So, I bring to you a truly simple, but beautiful DIY touch of Fall.  This is one that you can do yourself, with your kiddos, or just give them free reign like I did!

I love this little spot in my home! Makes me smile every single time.  Didn't my kids do a great job?!

You just need:
-Magnolia Leaves
-Acrylic paints
-Sharpie markers
-Twine or ribbon
-hot glue gun

 I love the colors and any chance to bring nature indoors. 
The instructions are simple.  Go outdoors on a beautiful fall day and enjoy a nice walk.  Collect Magnolia leaves on your stroll.  These leaves work best because they are so thick.
Bring your leaves back home.  Get our your supplies.  While your glue gun is heating, brew a cup of coffee and cut a slice of pumpkin bread.  Have a seat and begin creating!
A small dab of hot glue on the back of each leaf will do.

Then have fun finding places around your house to hang your new fall decor!

Happy Fall!

Friday, September 2, 2016

My Creative Space

Over the years, I have realized the importance of intentionally carving out time for myself; time to create.  It's truly therapeutic for me and energizing all at the same time.  God has created me in this way and I'll admit, it's been hard to find the balance at times.  But I think I am getting it now...or at least a little better anyway....or maybe not. It seems the minute that I think I've got it, I really don't so yeah....nevermind. ha!

My husband is very creative and crazy talented.  He is a musician and what many may not know, also an incredible artist.  It's always been very important to him and to me that he has a space to create music, a space to retreat and let the words come and inspiration flow.  I love this for him.

And now I have a space too. When we moved rooms around and created our master suite recently, I got this space to be my own. I am just so humbled and grateful for this room of mine. I make my jewelry here. I edit photos here. I work on lesson plans for the kids here. I blog here.  I paint here. I sew here.  And sometimes, I just come sit in here for a moment. It's a peaceful room and I look forward to cold winter days curled up in my favorite vintage orange chair with a book, a blanket, and some coffee.
It's also a private space where we can talk with others or listen, away from kiddos if needed. And the plan is to eventually incorporate a futon from the Novagratz 9 line that I've eyed for years so that people can stay over as well.
Here she is. :)
 This used to be our boys room.  The gray stripe was blue. I love the chalkboard stripe so I kept that and just painted over the blue with gray. 
*Those paintings are some of my husbands pieces.  It's ok, I am allowed to brag on him. ;)
My workspace. I also have a folding table tucked away behind the door that I pull out when I have several projects going and need more work space.
Guess who that is? 
Yep. That's the biggest photo known to man.  And that bright, amazing, ever so inspiring art piece is one of my mom's originals. Did I mention that my mom is crazy talented? She whoa! Go check her out on etsy here.  A link to her blog is listed to your right as well. Check her out!
The window next to my desk looks out over our garden in the backyard. I kind of love that.  And I can't get enough of succulents....even though I have not mastered how to keep them all alive yet.
 On our trip to Waco, TX to see dear friends, my boys got to go visit a metal scrap yard. My Aiden came back just gleaming with excitement over something he had found for me. He just knew I would love it and he was right!  That metal "e"....he just knows me so well.
Old wire baskets...I'm kind of obsessed.  I find them everywhere and I love them all!  Fill it with inspiring books and man, oh man!
I found this shoe rack at a flea market a year or so ago and knew right away that it was not going to hold my shoes. 

And the vintage hutch full of paints, sharpies, ribbons, stamps, packaged jewelry and happiness!

This space is peaceful and inspiring and energizing to me, all at the same time. I'm so thankful!  And listen, don't be afraid to make your home work for you and yours. Your home should reflect you and your family. It should reflect your desires and style and heart and it should function the way that your family needs it to.

A little advice if I may: take your time.  It takes time to settle into a house and decide exactly what it needs to truly be your home.  Collect pieces over time that you just love; found pieces that make you happy. Live in it for a while so you know exactly how things need to flow to make it the most functional.
My favorite thing ever is to find old pieces; pieces that to the naked eye may look ugly or boring and then bring them to life again!  I'm a spray paint kinda gal! ;)  You'd be surprised at the things I've used spray paint on and I bet you'd never know. 
I like affordable, unique, quirky, super functional, pieces with a story to tell.

Do you have a creative space or a room in your home that you love and truly reflects your style?  Throw a link in the comments and share! And if you don't have one yet, begin dreaming and planning and collecting today. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tearing Down Walls!

So, this year, 2016, has been the "year of the house" for us indeed!  We are so excited and grateful for the changes we've been able to make to our house so far; changes that are truly making this home "us." 
By the grace of God, we have a place to call home; a shelter from the elements, clean water running from our faucets, beds to sleep in, a safe place to gather together.  This in itself is such a tremendous that I know I take for granted at times. So, to simply have this place, I am beyond grateful.  But then to be able to do these fun things to make it truly ours and even more functional for our family.....WOW...I am just so very thankful and undeserving. 
I love creating and working with my hands; seeing the before and the after; the story and the transformation of something old and worn into something that highlights the beauty of the age and the scars.  I am inspired by so many creative and talented people in this world.  My hope in my posts about design and creativity is to inspire you as well!  And maybe to let you in on a few inexpensive and easy ways to make your home more you. 
We love to reuse materials, repurpose and find the most affordable way to diy our design wishes....such a fun challenge!
I recently shared our master suite renovation.  If you missed those and would like to take a peek, check them out here and here.
Today, I am excited to share another big renovation project we tackled over the last few months.  It is one that we envisioned from day 1 of looking at this house to buy.   Needless to say, 8 years later, we are a tad bit excited to see it a reality!

Here is the before and during of our living room project.  Taking down the wall! Woo hoo!
Here it is now finished.
I am in love. This truly changed the whole feel, flow, and function of our home.  I love that we are all together now.  The house feels so HUGE to me now!  We love having people in our home and this just makes that even more possible for more people to gather, which I just love so much.
So, please come on in and let me show you around.  Family movie nights, a lot of coffee drinking and stories shared, cuddles and reading, games and much life happens in this room.
Turn around and you'll find our entry way, my best find in years (our beloved old lockers), and the addition of a distressed wood wall. I love this part of the room.  Those lockers house all of the things that I have moved around from place to place in our home for years because we just didn't have a good place for them. We don't have a mudroom or a garage or even an extra closet that's not in use so these lockers hide backpacks, my workout gear, basketballs, hats and gloves, my purse, and our weekly library books so they don't get misplaced.

Natural light is a must for me and now even more of it floods through the windows from each room.
 I have wanted lights over our bar to replace the big fluorescent light that was there, forever!  I knew I wanted metal pendant lights and that I wanted them to hang from rustic wood.  My amazing husband took my wishlist and made it happen and he did so so good!

We painted our cabinets a couple of years ago and added hardware which seriously updated our kitchen. The light and sign over the sink are two of my favorite things in this space.  I looked for a long time for a vintage looking metal sign that fit the space and that I could afford and finally found this beauty!  And the light, I spotted at Vintage Market Days with my sister in laws and just fell in love with it.  My sweet sister in law snuck back over to that vendor later and surprised me with it.  Its one of those finds that I would've been kicking myself for not buying later so I am so glad she got it for me!
We also brought the wood element in here as well. It is a win win because it looks great and also doesn't show the little scuff marks from little feet like that the light gray paint did!  Just another one of the wonderful things about vintage industrial style, the more beat up it gets, the better it looks!
 Check out that light. I hear that it looks like the Death Star. Guess what? I had no clue! ha! I just knew that when my very excited husband called me over to see it on our trip to Ikea, I loved it right away! I love the ultra modern feel and that it is SO completely different than anything I've seen before.
I could tell he loved it too which sealed the deal.  Then he blurted out that it looks like the Death Star and after he explained what that was to me (I know, I know), I knew my kiddos would love it as well!

 mmmm....the coffee bar. This makes me happy.
That barn door though.  And the wood beams from the opening.  I just love it. 
Some sweet friends let us come haul off some old barn wood from their property a while back. We didn't know at the time what we would use it for but just knew we couldn't pass up barn wood!  It was absolutely meant for this project.
These lovely built in shelves were here when we bought the house and honestly, were a huge selling point for me.  We homeschool from our kitchen table so this space is super functional for our family! Those shelves and cabinets house our curriculum, workbooks, manipulatives, and art supplies. And the bright colors and globe are just happy to me.

Well, there's a little glimpse into our lives lately!  We have a few more projects to complete the year of the house but we've completed all of the really big ones now!

Next up: Creating a work space in the laundry room to make it a more functional work space, adding new lighting and freshening up the space with new paint.

We'll be using the same process to cover the kitchen counters with concrete as we did on our new master bathroom. And we plan to add this tile to the backsplash
and paint over the red wall with a more neutral color that will brighten up the space. We will hopefully add some simple LED under the cabinet lighting and the kitchen will be totally done!

We'll be doing concrete counters in the other bathroom in the house as well and framing out the large factory mirror on the wall. 
And then....wait for it.....the year of the house will be a total success!!!

Posts on the details and how to's of these projects are coming soon!