Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DIY Kitchen Island

I spotted it just as the rain began. A sweet little farm house table on the side of the road waiting to be destroyed by the rain, or end up in a landfill. I couldn't pass it by.

I had been wanting a kitchen island for some time, and this seemed like it might fit the bill with a few altercations...

The first was the height. Definitely not tall enough to use as a work space in the kitchen. I know it needed to be at least counter-height, which is a standard 36 inches. With some suggestions from friends, I decided to add a shelf and legs to the bottom.

If found these 6" legs at The Home Depot. They came with a screw already in the bottom, but after
talking to one of their super-helpful employees, he suggested I use a double-headed screw to get through the half inch plywood I was using. He took out the screw for me with some tool (I think he called them chandlers?) and then put in the new, double-headed screws. Thank you Mr. Home Depot!
 For the plywood, I had the board cut slightly larger than the distance between the legs. Then I used a power drill with a bit to start a hole and I could then screw the legs in by hand.

 It definitely looked awkward at first. I brought it inside and the height was just right.
I trusted that once it was painted it wouldn't look so... unfinished.

 Now the REALLY fun part began. I had been dying to try Chalk Pain, by Annie Sloan. It's made specifically to use without having to prime or prep the surface of whatever you're working with. The only place that sells it around here is Pottsies in Levis Commons. The paint is pricey but totally worth it. I kind of want to paint all the furniture in my house with it now. It was so easy and turned out beautifully in just two coats. I also applied a protective wax coat, which gave it a bit of a matted finish and sealed it.

 I also used some white paint I had to do the trim. And I spray painted the knob on the drawer.

 When I first moved it inside in November, I hadn't yet acquired the crates and boxes
I desired for underneath.

Now, between some treasures in my father's attic and an amazing, dusty, old crate
some friends got me for my birthday, it's just what I had envisioned. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lessons Learned

December was lovely. Well, minus most of our family getting sick at some point. Not so lovely.

I felt like my spirit and my schedule were truly able to slow down. My soul found pleasure, joy and satisfaction in the advent of Christmas. However, what I didn't see coming, were some of the consequences that come with slowing down. For better and for worse.

Consequence- (noun) a result or effect of an act or condition.

Some of the better consequences of a slow Christmas season were less stress and more enjoyment. I stopped. I played. I had lots of extra sweet moments with my kids and with our family as a whole because I was satisfied with just being. And some of the "just being" was just being at the foot of the manger. Sharing readings and songs and conversations about the newborn King with my children. Love and excitement grew thick in our home.

One of the not-so-hot consequences of this unhurried season: not getting stuff done. It's not like I didn't get anything done. But when it came down to it, there were things I needed to let go of. Letting go is always hard for me. It was the hardest lesson I learned after my first baby and even more so when #2 came along 15 months later. Just let it go. Let the piles pile and the floor be sticky and leave the lists unfinished. So hard. But two words kept popping into my head: Do Without. We will do without. We'll just have to do without. And we did. And Christmas still came. And it was lovely. And I need to do without much more often.

While I learned to let go of some things, I also had lessons in embracing others. Back in November I shared some thoughts about gifts. And while it is still the desire of my heart to keep things minimal, I have learned I cannot and should not control the gift-giving of others. Because of divorce on both sides of the family, we celebrate 4 separate Christmases. And it's great. I love that we actually get to continue celebrating right into January and even February some years. We are blessed with beyond generous families. And for some of us, gift-giving is how we show our love. So I'm thankful for not only the pool pass and the zoo pass and the Imagination Station membership and the day at Memphis Kiddie Park we'll have this summer- those gifts of experience I desire so much for my family. But I'm also thankful for the abundance, maybe even excessive gifts poured out in love to our children. Lavish love that I dare not ask others to refrain from giving.