Welcome Malachi

I have one sister.
She had her first baby.
His name is Malachi.
He was born on his due date, October 28th.

Oh he looks like his mother    :)
Welcome to the world, little man.


Seasonal Decorating

I'm feeling rather blunt today, and wordy.

It seems that the more blogs I read (and there are an endless amount available, and increasing daily), the more perplexed I get about seasonal decorating.  Posts usually written by stay-at-home moms who talk about how busy and crazy their lives are, how they do such-and-such to get it all done, and oh yeah, here is a picture of my mantel...in every season, AND Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, July 4th, Columbus Day (really?), Autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  Are they really too busy?  I'm being a little extreme (just a little), and I do realize that these women are scouring them homes looking for ideas of what to write their next blog post about.

Side Note:
I'm also dying to know where all these crafty ladies store all the items they are constantly making.  Do they have 2nd homes where they put it all?  Take Centsational Girl, for example.  I am in awe of her decorating style, she has some mad skills!  But take a look at this (gorgeous) room:
Isn't it amazing!?  But look closer, I think the only things that aren't Christmas decorations are the furniture, table, rug, mirror, and obviously the fireplace (she probably also reuses the glass vases on the mantel for other seasons).  All that other stuff: where's it go the other 11 months of the year?  Then multiply that times the other seasonal decor she switches out in this same spot.  I'm sure she has a system, like I said, she has mad skills.

End side note.

Before I go too far, I should define "seasonal decorating" in my terms.  Seasonal decorating would include changes to decor in and out of your home at nearly every opportunity.  This would include porch redo's, any blow-up yard ornaments, new paper garlands strewn around the home each month, etc.  This would not include bringing flowers from outside and putting them in a vase on your table during spring, setting pumpkins or gourds on your front porch in the fall, using pink napkins on Valentine's Day, etc.  Neither list is exhaustive by any means, but the blog world also does not need to see every little seasonal change either.  

Now, my only exception to seasonal decorating that I like and will do is Christmas, within limits.  Things can be tacky.  Very tacky...
I'm a fan of simple and timeless Christmas decor.  Things from nature.  White lights.

Moving on.

This has led me to the conclusion that I am generally not a fan of seasonal decorating.  Why?
1- It costs money.  You buy things to decorate your house, then you need to buy bins to store them in.  In our situation in life (and maybe yours), we are looking for ways to save every last penny and apply it to loans, retirement, kid's college, and vacation.  If you are in a similar stage of life, consider cutting back on your seasonal decorating.  
2- It takes up space...visually and when you store them.  If you remember a while back I shared the blog Becoming Minimalist with you.  From my own experience of moving several times and having to get rid of accumulated possessions, I'm a huge fan of clearing out the spaces in our lives, seen and unseen.  
3-  Your tastes change from one year to the next, and something you spent money on last year may not be your style this year.  You'll either throw it back in your storage closet (taking up more space), or donate it.
4- Does it really affect your overall happiness?  In trying to think of why people decorate at every season, the only 2 reasons I can come up with are that 1). it may make them happier when they see them, and 2). it allows them to have a creative outlet.  For all the crafters out there, it gives us things to make to get our "crafties" out, right?  I can understand the 2nd reason and I do think it is valid, although I don't know if it refers to the majority of people out there.
I truly believe your (and my) crafting abilities can be applied to items and areas in our lives that will serve more function.  I'm huge on function.  But that's another post.  

Now recently, my biggest peeve is Halloween.  Aaaghh.  I don't know who decided that putting cob webs, ghosts, spiders, freaky things, etc. etc. was tasteful.  I found one quirky article about decorating for Halloween.  I thought something they said was interesting and gave some insight into where these sort of decorations originated,
"It’s really hard to overdo Halloween – one could argue that the more decorations you have, the more protection from evil spirits or tricksters – on All Hallows Eve."
Article and Source
Not to mention, when you have a young child, you are constantly trying to avert their eyes from the scary images while driving down the street or going to Walmart or Lowe's (Christian is now afraid of the "tool store where the scary men are").

I would be happy with the following:
This entire post has ideas for fall decorating that are right up my alley.
(and where can I get GREEN pumpkins??!)
Maybe I've said too much.  I definitely don't mean to offend anyone, and many seasonal decorating ideas are very pretty, just not my thing I guess.  And I suppose some people may enjoy being full-on tacky!  So if you have the time, money, and space,  by all means, decorate away!  And who knows, maybe I'm just in a phase.  (If I change my mind, I'll let you know).  But if you feel like the pressure of changing your decor every month (or more!) is wearing on you, it's okay to let it go... one at a time even, and free up some time and money.  

I don't even know what is happening here!  Source
I'm curious to know some of your thoughts.  :)
Happy Decorating!


"Guest" Post: Irrational Fear

My sweet husband wanted to write a post to share some of his recent spiritual thoughts.  
(lest we forget he did get a degree in Christian Ministries)

The other day, Rachel and I took her parents and our kids out for dinner to Red Robin. To most of you, Red Robin is famous for great sandwiches and “bottomless” fries. It used to be famous for that to me as well, but not anymore. Today Red Robin is famous to me because it withdrew a manifestation of irrational fear out of my 3 year old son, Christian.

To be fair, the little guy has gone through a lot in the past year and a half. A year and a half ago he was an only child, now he’s 1 of 3. A year ago he was living in Marion, Indiana. Since then he moved 500 miles to Maryland to live for about 11 months, and then moved another 500 miles back to Indiana just a few short weeks ago. In the midst of all this change, he has met new people, made new friends, and now has to start over and make even more new friends.  To say the least, he has been going through many changes that can greatly affect the psyche of a young, impressionable boy such as himself.

The Incident”
While sitting in our oversized booth, some Red Robin associates were preparing the area adjacent to us for a birthday party abounding with cupcakes and helium-filled balloons. While these associates were organizing the area, a balloon became loose and proceeded to “pop” as it hit a warm light in the ceiling. As with any balloon popping, it was initially a little startling. Christian was somewhat concerned that the balloon had popped and asked me, "But why did it pop?”
Mistake #1, I told Christian what happened. Now this wouldn’t seem like a mistake to most, and it didn’t seem like one to me….at the time. Cue the irrational fear: as the meal progressed balloons continued to randomly get loose and float to the ceiling. The moment a balloon hit the ceiling, Christian would let out a shriek. I'm not talking about a little "I'm scared mommy please hold me" type of cry. This was an uncontrollable "there's no way you can comfort me right now" type of cry. It was a scream.  There’s no other way to put it, he had rapidly become extremely fearful of balloons popping on the ceiling. No matter how much I tried to reason with this 3 year old and take him outside for moments of calm away from the deathly balloons, the fear was not subsiding. His brilliant mother finally decided to make him switch sides of the booth where any balloons were barely visible. I probably should have just let her handle it from the start.
In the ensuing days, I began to notice that Christian, and all children I presume, tend to have many irrational fears that can come and go as quickly as beautiful weather in Northwest Indiana. Some days he might be afraid of the lamp at the top of the stairs. Some days his sisters, Selah and Jadah, might be scared to death of their Pappy Henry with his shirt off. (This has happened on multiple occasions.) Some days Christian might be bashful to sing at Awana’s, while other days he will belt it out at the top of his lungs. Whatever the fears may be, they are usually somewhat fleeting and many times totally irrational.

Further introspection brought to light an interesting point. As Christians, we tend to give in to irrational fears much like my son did that night at Red Robin. We hang Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13 in our homes, but do we ever stop and realize the meanings of those verses in our lives? If we truly believe that “God has plans to prosper and not harm us” and we can “do all things through Christ that strengthens us,” then why do we still have fear?
Why are we scared when we lose a job or don't like a job? Why are we scared when our house won't sell and we desperately need to sell it? Why are we scared when we don't know God's plan for our entire lives at this moment in time? Why are we scared when our children, younger and older ones, make mistakes? Why are we scared about anything, that when it comes down to it, is outside of our control?
I'll tell you why, it's because we're human! All of these “adult” fears make perfect sense and should be concerns. But time and again I have seen people lose sleep and practically create panic attacks over issues they really have no control over. As the old adage goes, “You have to let go and let God.” I know this is MUCH easier said than done. But imagine what life would be like if you could simply let go of all of your fears and doubts and trust completely that God has things under control! There are a vast number of references in the Bible of God promising to take care of us. Not even a sparrow falls without Him knowing. He knows the number of hairs on your head, don't you think He knows your fears and doubts? And better than all of that, He knows your hopes and dreams.

With that said, may you go with God. May you not worry and not fear the troubles of this world. May you walk with confidence and assurance through the scary streets of your personal memoir. May you see the balloons of life floating toward the hot lights in the ceiling and say. “I know you might pop, but I'm not going to be scared anymore.” May you always know that God does have a plan for you and you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.


Ruffled Lampshade

Time to start sharing the details of the family room I showed you a few weeks (months?) ago.  Let's start with the fabric ruffled lampshade that I saw first on Crafty Texas Girl (via Centsational Girl), this is hers:

I had some major lampshade issues in this room.  I was planning on using a little yellow lamp from Goodwill, but no shade seemed to look right.
Yikes.  It's like a bad day in the dressing room.
I ended up choosing the top left shade for the ruffle project because I thought that once I added the ruffle, it would be the right proportions to the lamp.
I started by tracing my lampshade to create a template, then used the template to cut my fabric to cover the white shade.  I really really like the fabric, and wanted to use it even though I figured it wouldn't let much (or any) light through it.

Once I got to the bottom, I didn't like the way you could see the seam of the ruffle, so I glued it to itself to make a cleaner look...
I ended up doing that to the top and bottom to keep the ruffles together.  I put it on my lamp, and still didn't like the way it looked.  I decided it must be the lamp base, so I used a different lamp I had and liked it 100% better.  I don't have a great "after" picture (just like I didn't have "after" pictures of the whole room), but you can get the idea from these pictures...

Ruffle Shmuffle, fun project!  And since the edges of the ruffles are unfinished, I occasionally have to give it haircuts to remove the extra threads, but hey, who doesn't need a little haircut every now and then?  Give this one a try!--- it adds a nice feminine touch to a room without being girly.  I wonder how it would look to use all sorts of different fabric ruffles, varying colors and patterns?  Could be very cool! Again, you can get the full directions here.

Hope you're enjoying this Indian Summer as much as I have been.  Have a great night!


Fabric-Backed Bookshelf

Happy October! Let's start out with a nice crafty project...something fun (and overdue!).

Remember back when I make the children's nook at my parent's house?  I applied fabric to the back of the bookshelf.  It was pretty simple, you could totally do it.

1- buy some spray adhesive at Lowes.

2- measure the size of each panel on the bookshelf.  Even if they look the same, each one may be slightly different, so you have to measure each one.  Or if you are doing a bookshelf that has adjustable shelves, you can just take them all out and line the entire back (do consider the thickness of your fabric, you want to make sure the shelf will still fit in with the fabric behind it).
3- cut your fabric.
4- after laying your bookshelf on it's back, spray the back of your fabric.

5- carefully line up the fabric and apply it to the panel, smoothing it with your hands (starting at the middle and pressing outwards).
*It might not be perfect, and I'm no perfectionist.  My fabric edges were raw and uneven, but that's not the important part.  Most of it will be covered up with books and knick-knacks anyway.

6- Stand it up and put it to use!

Let me know if you decide to give it a try, I'd love to see how it turns out!
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