Saturday, December 2, 2017

Canvas Art

I have discovered a new love for painting! I've always enjoyed creating, but never really practiced beyond elementary school. I've learned that I especially love painting words on canvases! With the encouragement of family and friends, I've decided to put this love to good use.

I've decided to embark on a path that I've always known I wanted to follow, I've just never taken the leap to start. Galatians 6:2 tells us to "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." I have decided to sell a few designs and sizes. The proceeds from these sales will be going into a 'benevolence' account. Currently the funds from this account will be given to a dear friend of mine who has experienced numerous life challenges this year and is in need of help. Lord willing, this account will be used to touch many lives and help bring peace and comfort to those that need it. Another purpose for this account will be to help us (my husband and I) be able to bring children into our home via foster care or adoption. Our current house will not meet the home study requirements for foster care or adoption, so I'm raising funds to help boost our ability to purchase a larger home. If you would be interested in purchasing a custom painted words on canvas, please continue reading for details.

Follow this link for color choices:

I am still compiling the list of the phrases for each letter of the alphabet for the Name Canvas. Here is the partial list that I have so far. I will update as more become available. If you think of one that I don't have, please feel free to share with me. Some letters are just difficult!

These next examples are digital examples. The canvases that you will receive are completely hand painted, therefore will not be as clear and crisp as the digital files show.



Please visit my etsy store for more information, designs or to order.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Live for Today

Our family gallery wall featuring our nephews and nieces
When we bought this house, it was not meant to be our ‘forever’ home.  We bought it because it allowed my hubby to move out of his gracious brother’s house, me to move from Michigan and for us to live cheaply while I traveled between South Carolina and Michigan to finish school.  Redoing the kitchen and putting a laundry room in were easy decisions.  However, I pretty much stopped there.  I didn’t want to make the effort to make this house our home, after all, we weren’t planning on being here forever.

Over the last couple weeks, God has revealed discontentment in my heart.  I realized that I wasn’t living each day to its fullest potential.  I wasn’t living for today and mostly, I was putting my life on hold for things to come.  While, it’s ok to plan and dream, it is not alright to not enjoy today.  I was only given so many days in my life here on Earth, I need to make the most of them.

Years ago, I bought inexpensive picture frames from Ikea.  We had a wall in the living room of our house in Michigan that I wanted to make our family wall.  I never did.  I decided that to help make the most of this house and my life right now, I was finally going to make my family gallery wall.  This house doesn’t have a lot of open wall spaces, but we did have one empty wall in our TV room.  I bought 2 8x10 canvases to paint, and command hooks to use to hang all the frames and the canvases.  I decided to use command hooks because I had 11 frames to hang and I didn’t want to put that many holes in the wall, especially because we don’t plan on being here long term.

The Command hooks in formation on the wall.
The blank canvases that I used.
The Ikea Picture frames.

The frames were white and too plain for what I wanted.  I decided to paint them and initially that was a mistake.  The frames are made of a material that repelled the acrylic paint.  After getting annoyed at first, I started applying a thicker coat of paint and that held better.  I used carbon paper and traced each niece and nephew’s name and birth date onto each frame.  When I went over it with a black permanent marker, the paint started chipping away.  Again, I became irritated and almost gave up.  After stepping back though, and looking at it with fresh eyes, I loved it!  Since the paint chipped off so easily, I ended the process by spraying two coats of clear coat spray paint over each frame.  I painted the background of the canvases to match the frames and then painted a quote on each one. 
The canvases and quotes that I painted.
I chose these quotes because our family is scattered all over the country and we don't get to see our nieces and nephews nearly as much as we would like.  We don't have the opportunity to play as big of a role in their lives, but we still love them to pieces and they are our world!  I love the end result and am so happy that I decided to tackle even little projects to continue to make this house our home, while because we still live here!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Kitchen Redo #2 Continued

It is a well known fact in our household that I am great at starting projects, and not so great at finishing them! Our kitchen has been a work in progress for many months.  Thankfully this progress hasn't made it a war zone though, like our previous kitchen.  We still have had full use of cabinets and counter space.  My first post said that I had 2 phases to finish the kitchen... and now it's turned into 4 :)  I still have to complete the 4th, which is staining our lower cabinets.  I am not completely sure when I will actually finish the kitchen, but I wanted to share the progress that I've made with phases 1-3.


Phase 1

This phase was just painting all the upper cabinets.  This took a bit more effort than the initial small bank that I showed previously.  The rest of the cabinets had paint that was chipping from the previous paint job and some had greasy spots that I couldn't wipe clean.  These doors required much sanding.  I set up my sanding station outside using old chairs and an old door.  I do what I can with what I got, and I didn't have a work table/bench or saw horses to use! :)

I washed the cabinet doors down and then went to work sanding.  As you can see if some of the pictures, the old paint just started peeling right off!

If I I would have known the severity of the need for sanding, I would have used my electric sander.  However, I just figured it would be a few spots here and there so I didn't bother.  My arms got quite the workout, and my fingers had blisters!

I started to paint them outside, but bugs kept flying into the paint!  So I set up shop inside.  I used the same chalky paint mixture as shown in my previous post.

After painting two coats, I applied Minwax Polycrylic for protection.  With chalky paint, you can either wax it or use a poly.  I prefer the poly because I already had some, and I won't have to keep reapplying every year (or more often since kitchens get a LOT of usage).  I prefer the polycrylic over polyurethane because it's a water base, therefore easier to clean up and it doesn't yellow over time like an oil base would.

For the actual cabinets, the prep work was a little easier.  I didn't have to sand and I didn't have much scrubbing.  I did have to 'fill in' one area because there was a gap and you could see right into the cabinet.  For this, I measured the gap, and then bought a square dowel that was close in thickness.  I used my hand saw to cut the length to the correct size.  After sanding the edges, I applied liquid nails and clamped it to the cabinet.  Now that it's all painted, you wouldn't know it was ever repaired (unless I pointed it out to you - which I just did! haha).

After the cabinets were painted, but before the doors were put back on:

Phase 2

Phase 2 was simply painting our bar/wall that separates the kitchen and living area.  For this, I did not use the chalky mixture.  I just used the same ratio of the latex paints to create the same color and mixed it without the calcium carbonate.

Having it the same color as the upper cabinets brightened up the space so much.

Phase 3

Our house has cinderblock walls with only 3/4" styrofoam and 3/4" plaster/drywall.  This combo makes for a very difficult process of hanging anything of substance.  This means that hanging my decorative wall shelves and many of my pictures weren't an easy option.  Since this house isn't our forever house, I didn't want to put all the time and energy into trying to decide the best way to anchor everything without huge holes everywhere.  With the wood planks that I bought YEARS ago for a bed project (that never got completed), I decided to build open shelves on the bar.  This still allows for an open area from kitchen to living, and light to pass through which is important because these spaces are small.

I measured 3 or 4 times before I cut the boards down.  I ran into the problem of warped boards from age and storage.  So the cuts weren't perfect and my measurements ended up being off a little.  I was still able to make the shelves work.  I found stainless steel L brackets to stabilize and secure the wood so the system wouldn't collapse under weight.  

I am really happy with how our kitchen is turning out.  As I said earlier, phase 4 will be staining our lower cabinets and also adding new hardware.  I will update again as I finish that phase.  For now, here are the after pictures of our kitchen area!

Don't mind all the dirty dishes! That's my project for today :)
The shelves filled with my treasures.  And a whole lot of clutter on the
floor that still needs to be taken care of haha!

Monday, August 28, 2017

In Home Washer & Dryer

Guys!  I have a washer and dryer in my house!  Finally after owning this house for over a year (I can't believe it's been that long already!), I have a properly functioning washer and dryer!  Last summer, I bought a used wash machine, but after it was delivered, we discovered that we didn't have the correct connections or a drain.  We rigged it up so that it worked for about a month.  The picture below shows how the washer drained into our yard, and we didn't have a dryer (no vent) so I had to line dry clothes or take them to the laundromat.

The seams in the PVC pipe used inside to 'drain' the water ended up breaking and water went everywhere in our utility room!  In June, after months of weekly trips to the laundromat, Hubby graciously agreed to buy me a brand new washer/dryer unit and to hire a plumber to come correctly install the washer and fix other plumbing issues that we had.

So now we had the washer hooked up and running, however we still did not have a vent for the dryer.  We have a cinderblock house and I was not about to bust out a window to vent through.  I looked on Youtube and decided I could tackle the project of drilling the hole myself.  I bought a new hammer drill for the tasks and everything!

Sadly, the wall won!  I could not drill through.  Thankfully, my father-in-law is a licensed contractor and he and my mother-in-law were going to be in town visiting.  I asked if he would be willing to tackle the project and he graciously agreed!

After purchasing a chisel and hammering away - we discovered the block has abnormal webbing (of course) and the spot I started drilling in was solid concrete.  BUT, between FIL and MIL and me on the inside - the dryer is now properly vented to the outside through the block wall!!  This past Sunday I celebrated - by doing laundry - while still in my pjs!