Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adoption Update

I'm about to sum up 6 months of adoption news into this blog post. This post is kind of long because a lot of great things that I am excited to share have happened in the past 6 months!!

As you read in THIS POST well over a year ago, we started the adoption process, found out we were pregnant two-ish weeks later, and decided to continue the process once Wyatt was 6 months old. And that's what we did :). In April, we started our home study again with our amazing social worker Julie Bolles, and started working on our dossier. The dossier is a whole boatload worth of papers such as birth certificates, bank statements, insurance info , recommendations,  and many other documents  that have to be collected and sent to Ethiopia. Along with those documents, we also had to go to the Department of Homeland Security and have our fingerprints done so we could get approved  to be able to go to Ethiopia and bring a child home with us. We finished all of that and received our approval from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in about 3 months, and our dossier arrived in Ethiopia on September 1! Then we we were put on a wait list. We are currently number 134 on this list.  When we started the process before we knew about Wyatt, we were told we would be on the wait list 6-12 months, but while I was pregnant, the Ethiopia program through our agency, Lifeline, grew A LOT. I am so glad so many are interested in adopting from Ethiopia, but the implications of that are that the wait will be much longer. We are ok with that. God has shown us so many times and in so many ways that His timing is perfect, and that there is much to be learned during the wait. We trust that there is a child that God intends to join our family that will not come home a day too soon or too late. We are currently approved to adopt a boy or girl, age 0-2. After talking with our agency and social worker, we have decided for now to keep our birth order intact (so Wyatt will remain the oldest), but I know God could change our minds on that if that's what He wants :). 

As most of you know, adoption is expensive. Like $30,000 expensive. We don't have that kind of money sitting around, but we trust that if God is guiding us to do this, He will provide the funds needed. So far, we have paid a little over 1/3 of that, and God has provided pretty much exactly what we needed right when we needed it. I don't know why I ever doubt that He will provide. He is so good.

A few examples of this... when we started the process again in April, our pastor preached a sermon about "trust and obey", and after the service, a friend from church handed us a check. For $2,000! She told us that she felt like God was telling her to trust and obey that morning and to give us this amount of money. Well neither one of us knew at that point, that we would owe about $1900 towards our adoption THAT VERY WEEK! We put the check in our adoption account, and then received news just a few days later that we had to pay that amount. That was some pretty clear confirmation from the Lord that He is going to provide what is needed. 

Shortly after that, my good friend Kristin Ferguson had a HUGE yard sale for us as a fundraiser for our adoption. If you haven't met Kristin yet, you need to. She is unreal. She has the most giving and selfless spirit. I have learned so much from her. Thank you also to all of our friends and family who donated tons of awesome things and time to making this yard sale the best one in the history of yard sales. I'm not kidding. It was amazing. 

Well the morning of the yard sale, it started monsooning. I woke Wyatt up at 5 a.m. to take him over to Kristen's on the first day of the sale. Brian came in the room and told me it was raining. I started to have a freakout moment, but felt a peace come over me. We decided we still needed to have the sale, and I knew God would be at work. Well, it rained hard pretty much ALL DAY LONG. And not that many people came, but somehow at the end of the day, we had raised close to $1000! Brian said it was like God was just adding cash to the money case... every time he would count the money there would be quite a bit more, but it didn't seem like that many people had even bought things. I made him count the money like 4 times that night to make sure he wasn't miscounting :). The next day, it was sunny and nice and we had a great turnout, and so many sweet friends from church would come and buy things like an old cassette tape from 1982 and give us a $200 check! That happened One friend gave us $1000 for a toy penguin. Who does that?!?! People who want to also be a part of loving the fatherless, and who also believe that children belong in families do things like that. It takes a village, and our village is pretty awesome. Our life group and other friends came to help us (in the pouring rain) and even baked lots of yummy food to sell. We are so blessed. God used the yard sale to show us the beauty of the church coming together to fulfill His calling on all of our lives to work together to care for the orphan. It was such a beautiful day. We raised over $4000 through the yard sale, and we were able to pay the other fees that we owed to our agency and to get our dossier to Ethiopia. God is so good. We had no idea how we were going to come up with $6000 in the matter of a few weeks, and God provided everything with needed before we even knew how much we needed! Holy Cow. He is awesome. In addition to the yard sale, Kristin also sold jewelry that her friend made to help us raise money, and our friend Whitney had a thirty one party and gave a portion of the sales to our adoption. Seriously blown away by the generosity of our friends!

The next large amount we will owe is $9000. We will have to pay this after we accept a referral (for the child we will be adopting). To help with this amount, we are going to start selling our adoption fundraiser shirts designed by our good friend Brandon Wood. Our theme for this adoption has been "bright hope", and Brandon did an amazing job portraying this through our shirt :). 

Here is a digital picture of what they will look like :). The box below shows the different color options. We should have real samples within the week. The color choices will be pink, brown, kelly green, heather navy, heather dark gray, and heather red. They will be $20 a piece. If I will have to ship the shirts, just add $5 to the total. Heather navy and heather red are only available in the men's (Unisex) shirt.

Sizes are as follows: Mens (unisex) Small-6XL; Womens XS-4XL, Kids XS-XL

 If you want to order a shirt (or shirts) leave a comment below or send me an email :). You can pay by check, cash, or credit card using the donate button in my side bar.

Many of you have asked... Why Ethiopia? A few reasons are listed below... We both feel called to adopt from Africa because of the number of orphans there, the poverty in which most of the orphans live, and because of the statistics of what happens to them when they "age out" of the orphanages. We in no way feel that we are rescuing a child, as David Platt puts it - "we adopt because we have been rescued", and we are adopting because we believe with all of our heart that children belong in families, and know that God has called us to grow our family in this way at this time. We know this process will be hard, that the wait will be long, and that the difficulties will not end when this child joins our family, but we believe that God is good, that He is faithful, and that this is what He wants us to do. Thank you for joining us in this journey. Thank you for supporting us through prayer and through finances. This is not something we could ever do alone.... even if money did grow on trees. We still would need you. I can't wait to tell our little one someday how hard people worked together to provide a family for him or her. Thank you and we love you all so much. 

why adopt from Ethiopia -

  • There are over 4,000,000 children currently in orphanages in a country that has a population of 85,000,000.  39,000,000 of those are under the age of 18.  That means that almost 5% of the entire population and over 10% of children are orphans.
  • 38% of the population live below the basic needs poverty level.  To give some perspective of how low that level is, 78% of the population lives on less than $2 per day.  50% of the population subsists on an insecure source of food.  33% are severely malnourished.
  • Percentage of girls who suffer “female circumcision” as it is described in the media, but more accurately described by W.H.O. as “female genital mutilation”: 62%
  • Only 25% of girls attend high school, and only 35% of women can read and write.
  • 1 in 8 children die before the age of 1.  1 in 6 children die before the age of 5.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wyatt's Nursery

 There are two blog posts I have been wanting to write for quite awhile, but every time I think about doing that... something else comes up. For some reason I thought our lives would slow down after having a baby... haha... I was obviously a little wrong. The two posts I have been wanting to share are Wyatt's nursery and his birth story (a not too detailed account for those with a weak stomach... child birth is messy!:). I'm still deciding about how to share/how much to share regarding his birth story, so I'll start with his nursery :)... which is convenient since the last post I did (a LONG time ago) included some of my ideas for the nursery. 

Here are a few pictures/details. They were all taken with my iPhone so I'm sorry the quality isn't so great.



The dresser in the pictures we bought from Ikea and the changing pad cover is from Land of Nod. All of the frames are either from Ikea or Good Will. I spray painted them all white to match, and most of the printables I found for free on pinterest. My friend Darlene made the prayer board for me (which I LOVE), and my friend Sarah gave me the beautiful frame with the verses from Psalm 139 in it. The other verses on the wall are Zephaniah 3:17, Colossians 3:1-2, and Matthew 28:19-20. I love meditating on all of the Scripture on the wall when I am in the nursery and I look forward to teaching Wyatt these verses in the future. I pray that he learns at a young age to hide God's Word in his heart and to live by it. The cowboy accents were a result of Brian thinking yellow is a girly color and that Wyatt needed a more manly nursery :). Yellow cowboy decor was my compromise. I bought the horse shoe and antlers at Hobby Lobby and spray painted them yellow. I printed the cowboy silhouettes and cut them out and stuck them to yellow polka dot scrap book paper. I think that was a pretty good compromise :). Wyatt's favorite thing on the wall is the picture of me (about 30 weeks preggo) holding his ultrasound picture. He stares and it and smiles pretty much every time he is getting his diaper changed! It's like he knows what the picture is of.... or maybe he likes the colors :).

We did end up buying him the Jenny Lind crib and his bedding is all from Land of Nod. I made the curtains with fabric I found at (which is a great website if you need some decorating inspiration), and I lined them with blackout liner which is GREAT for early mornings and nap time! I think it is a must for nursery curtains. The bench is from Ikea, and I made the cushion using THIS tutorial and the fabric was purchased from I sewed the banner above the crib and the pillow in the chair with the left over fabric. The beautiful quilt on the back of the chair was made by my friend Dayna Walraven. I absolutely love it and know that it is one thing that will stay with Wyatt forever. Wyatt loves to stare and smile at all of the patterns on the quilt. It's the sweetest thing. My friend Brooke made the Wyatt banner out of burlap, and then I hung it in the frame. You all know how much I love some burlap, so I obviously had to have a least one thing made out of burlap ;). The "book" shelves are actually spice racks from Ikea that were only $4 a piece! I saw the idea on pinterest and knew I needed to incorporate this into the room. I love books and I hope Wyatt does too. 

Wyatt and I spend a lot of time in here playing on the floor, and I've even started reading to him in here. He doesn't really look at the pictures in the books too much yet... he mostly watches me while I'm reading and talks in his little baby language the whole time :). The louder I read, the louder he gets :). He is really chatty these days! I love hearing his voice and his smile and giggle melts my heart every time. I am loving every second of being a mommy to Wyatt. God has blessed us so much with this sweet little boy. Being a mom is definitely one of the most challenging things I have every done, but also one of the greatest! I'm learning to depend on God's grace and trust Him to give Brian and I what we need to care for Wyatt. I'm also constantly have to remember that Wyatt is in God's hands and He cares for Him and loves Him more perfectly than I ever could. We praise Him for letting us be Wyatt's mommy and daddy, and we pray that we bring Him glory with how we parent Wyatt and that that we are always pointing Wyatt to Christ. 

Thanks for reading and I hope to share more about Wyatt's birth story and being a mommy with you all soon :). 

Friday, May 11, 2012

The nursery

We are having a boy!! By the time we had the ultrasound, we were both pretty certain it was a boy. Obviously Brian would have been fine either way (I hope:), but every time he talked about the baby or when we would pray for the baby, Brian would refer to our baby as he and him. So I naturally started calling the baby a he as well. Needless to say, if we had ended up having a girl it would been quite the transition to referring to Baby C as she :).  The ultrasound was nothing short of amazing. To see him kicking and rubbing his eyes and puckering his lips was one of the most special moments of my life. I felt like the pregnancy was moving pretty fast until that point, but since I saw his sweet little face so clearly, I can't wait to meet him and hold him and love on him. Seeing our little guy also made these past 19 weeks of puking and constant nausea seem like no big deal. I knew from the beginning all the pregnancy sickness was definitely all worth it, but I'm not going to lie, I am ready for the puking to stop :). At least it will stop once the baby is out, right? I am hopeful for that :). We are so grateful to the Lord for this little miracle growing inside me. Now we just need to name him. Decisions decisions.

The day I found out I was pregnant, I started thinking about how I wanted to decorate the nursery... because I absolutely love decorating! We have decided to decorate the nursery in aqua, gray, and yellow. That way if our next baby (our baby in Ethiopia) is a girl, we won't have to do the whole thing over... maybe just add a little bit of pink.We are not going to have any type of theme, just lots of patterns and color. Chevron and polka dots and stripes... oh my :).

Here are the things we have either already bought or we are planning on purchasing soon for the nursery. I can't wait to see how it all looks together!

Last night, we bought this baby bedding from Land of Nod. I was thinking about trying to make the bedding, but then I found this and it was exactly what I wanted. 

So far we bought the following crib sheet, skirt, and changing pad cover. I'm still not sure if I am going to buy the quilt. It's a little pricey for my taste :).

We also already bought the following fabric and Ikea book shelf to make a little bench seat (idea found on pinterest:) for under the window.

The fabric is from

This is the EXPEDIT book shelf we purchased from Ikea:

And I am going to make a bench like this:

A tutorial to make the cushion for the bench is found HERE.

We are going to buy the white Jenny Lind crib. It is very inexpensive and I absolutely love the classic look of it. 

We are not going to buy a traditional changing table. We will not have room in the room for a dresser and changing table. I am either going to buy a used dresser and paint it white or buy this dresser from IKEA. We will just use the top of the dresser as a changing table.

Or..... we might buy a tool cart and use that as a changing table. My friend Amy-Jo did that for her baby and it is super cute and genius! Here is a yellow tool cart that would look great in our nursery :)

My awesome father-in-law is going to put beadboard on the walls, which will be white, and then we are going to paint the rest of the wall Benjamin Moore's Robin's Nest.

Here is a nursery painted in Robin's Nest. I LOVE the aqua and yellow together. And... that is the crib we are getting... I love the yellow version of it but we are going to stick with the white one just in case I am all yellowed-out in the future :).

Image above found HERE.

I'm going to attempt to make these curtains using THIS tutorial. I'm a little nervous about this project... Have any of you ever used/made fabric paint before? If so, I might need a little help :).

I'm not sure what will be on the walls yet... Probably something to do with the lyrics to "You are my sunshine", something with his name, and I'm also thinking about putting the alphabet on the wall using the same spray paint used to make this sign:

It's all coming together! Hopefully decorating this nursery will keep me busy enough over the next few months to make the waiting time until our little guy arrives feel a little shorter :). Fun fun times at the Coates' home!

Friday, March 23, 2012


So.... I took a nice long break from blogging (not that I was ever very consistent with it:). The long break was due to quite a few really big changes in our life! Hopefully I will still find some time to make fun things for our home, but I am guessing that the blog will soon be less about crafting and more pictures/updates of our growing family. We have gotten a lot of questions about why we are adopting and having a baby (the old fashion way:) at the same time. Here is a brief explanation of how this all came to be...

In high school, I went to Romania on a mission trip. While there, we spent time at a home (sort of an orphanage) for girls. Most of them were older and had "aged out" of the government run orphanages. When girls age out of these orphanages, they are often kicked out on the streets without any money, education, and have a difficult time finding a job. Many of them (probably the majority) end up turning to prostitution or I'm sure even become part of the extremely heart breaking sex trafficking industry. The orphanage we spent time at was started as a response to this problem. It was mainly just for older girls and the workers made sure all the girls received an education and learned a trade such a cooking, sewing, gardening, and so on. They were also taught about the Lord and that He was their Father and how beautiful, loved, and cherished they were in His sight. There were only like 15 girls living in this home, and they became a family to each other. I remember after staying in the home with these girls thinking that someday I am going to somehow be involved in ministering to orphans like this home did. While in Romania, we also visited some government run orphanages. The pictures from these places are ingrained in my mind forever. I remember a room that was lined with cribs... at least 20, and there was one women caring for all of the babies. There also was a room that was just for the orphans that had special needs. There was one child in particular who was 4 or 5 years old with cerebral palsy that I remember very clearly. He was lying in a crib that was much too small for him, and had severe muscle contractures and he could no longer straighten his arms or legs. I wondered that day if they ever took him out of the crib, if anyone ever held him in their arms, if he ever felt loved? That was ten years ago and I still remember his face. There were just so many kids, and so few workers, and it was so cold and gray and life seemed so hopeless for all of them, and this was just one orphanage. There were also orphans all over the city who had gotten kicked out the orphanages, ran away, or aged out. We saw some of this kids holding dirty bags up to their noses and they were sniffing the contents of the bag. We found out that there was glue in the bags and sniffing it made the kids "high". Through an interpreter, we were able to ask one of the young boys why he sniffed the glue and he said it was so that he could feel warm at night and not feel hungry. Needless to say, God broke my heart during that short trip for orphans. Every verse about ministering to orphans suddenly made so much more sense. I wanted all of them to know the hope and love and peace they could find in Christ. I wanted them to know that God was their Father, and that they could have a hope that would warm their hearts and feed their souls for eternity.

Fast forward 7 years... Brian and I are dating and we start talking about getting hitched :). I told him then I felt like God was calling me to adopt internationally long before I ever met him. Brian agreed that if God continued to lead us in this direction, that we would someday pursue adopting a child. After we got married, we talked about adoption quite a bit and prayed about when to start the process. We decided last January to try to first have a child the natural way :), and that if in a year we had not gotten pregnant, we would take that as indication that we were suppose to adopt first. Well... about ten months into trying to get pregnant, our doctor discussed some options to try to help us get pregnant. At first, we were excited about our options and thought we would pursue that road... this was the first week of November. One week later, I was on plane on my way to Guatemala. The week between our doctor's appointment and my Guatemala trip was extremely busy and I had not had very much time to pray and process through what the doctor had said and the decision we had made. I started writing in my journal and praying... and then the tears started rolling... on the plane. I was sandwiched between two very small Guatemalan ladies. Their feet didn't even touch the ground while they were sitting... they were too cute... and they probably wanted to find a different seat at this point :). As I was praying, a very clear unrest entered my heart. I knew at that moment God was telling us to not move forward with the fertility stuff but that He wanted us to pursue adoption like we said we would even before we got married. It was SO CLEAR. One of the most clear moments in my life where I knew what God was guiding me to do. For a moment I did sort of mourn the thought of maybe not ever getting pregnant, but I also felt so cared for that God, Creator of the Universe, would care so much about our future family, that He would clearly show me what we were suppose to do. I got home from the trip and told Brian. I was ready to start the adoption process that day... Brian said we needed to slow down and spend some serious time praying about this (he's pretty wise... I'm pretty impatient). So we prayed... for about a month. We asked God if this was what He wanted to us to do first, we asked what country, what agency, what gender, what age and so on... (there are a lot of things to think through when you start this process!!). It was seriously nothing short of amazing how God placed people in our life during this time of prayer that helped make all of these decisions pretty easy. Right before Christmas, we knew that we definitely wanted to move forward with the adoption. We knew we wanted to adopt from Africa, but we were still praying about whether to adopt from Ethiopia or Uganda. We had been leaning towards adopting from Uganda and had been referred by Gwen (who runs an awesome organization called 147 million orphans.. so thankful to have met her!) to an agency called Lifeline. After talking with Lifeline extensively about their Uganda and Ethiopia program, we prayed some more and decided we should apply for their Ethiopia program. I even felt like the Lifeline reps were sort of indirectly directing us towards their Ethiopia program (It's so cool that God was making it clear even to the agency what we were suppose to do). We officially applied to Lifeline on December 30th, and set up our first home-study meeting for January 10th. We were accepted into the program about a week later and started the mountains of paper work that comes with international adoption. We did all three of our home study visits in 2 weeks and we were about done with our paperwork for the dossier (a collection of like 20 documents about ourselves that gets submitted to the Ethiopia)... we were just waiting for a few documents to come in the mail and for our home study to be finalized so we could apply to get our fingerprints done for immigration.

4 days after our last home study visit, we found out we were pregnant :). At first I was super confused by this (I was happy.... just a little confused by the timing... and just not sure what to think/feel), but God's timing is so perfect, and looking back everything happened when it did for a very specific reason. We KNEW we were supposed to adopt... but we were obviously also about to have a baby. We had already paid about $5,000 towards our adoption.  I quickly contacted our social work who was working on our home study. She graciously told us she could wait to finalize our home study until after our baby was born, so we lost absolutely no money on our home study. I contacted Lifeline, and they said per their policy, we would have to put the adoption on hold until that baby was 6 months old and then we could move forward with the adoption and lose no money as long as we started it again within the next two years. So we didn't lose a penny, but we were totally locked into the adoption. We did have the option of getting a lot of our money back if we decided to call off the adoption, but we both knew this was not what God was calling us to. We knew we were suppose to adopt. It was never something we did just because we were having a difficult time getting pregnant. We knew this was something God wanted our family to do. Also.... looking back at the timing of everything and the country we picked... everything fit perfectly together like a puzzle. If we had started the adoption in November when I wanted to, we would have probably already submitted our dossier and had to have redone a lot of work and lost a lot of money. If we would have found out we were pregnant even one week later, our home study would have been done and we would have had to do a lot of that over again and pay extra money. If we would have picked Uganda (which I still want to possibly pursue some day), we would have had to live in Uganda for 4-6 weeks or even longer with a very young child. Yes, we will have to go to Ethiopia twice, but for shorter periods of time which will make a little bit more sense for where our family will be at that point.... and who knows, God may direct us back to Uganda, but at this point, we are praying for our little Ethiopian :). God holds every second of our lives in His hands. He has shown Brian and I that truth very clearly through this whole process. Nothing happens by accident. And.. this has also made me learn a lot about hope, not only for Brian and I, but the hope that there is for orphans, even for those who will not get adopted, and how God cares for orphans as well just as He has cared for us. He holds every single orphan in His hands. He is their hope, not me. He is their rescuer, not me. Brian and I are a vessel. We are willing, but God is able. Even for the children that will never experience what it's like to have a family to call their own, they have a Heavenly Father who is the Father to the Fatherless, who is their hope in the darkness, their refuge throughout all their suffering, their shelter through every storm, their loving Creator who has His arms wrapped tightly around them. We are adopting not because we think it's the cool thing to do right now, not because we want to grow our family a little bit quicker, not because we struggled to get pregnant, but we adopt because God adopted us into His family when we least deserved it (Ephesians 1:5), we adopt because God commands us to care for the Fatherless and this how we believe our family is called to do this (Deuteronomy 24:17-22, James 1:27), we adopt because there are over 140 MILLION orphans in this world who do have a family and many of them do not even have food, beds, clothes, shoes, or even shelter, and we adopt because we want that number to go down and we want at least one of the 140 million plus to know the love the Father has for them and that they are valued by Him, to have a family to call their own, to feel safe and loved and cherished in the arms of a mom and dad and ultimately our prayer would be someday that this child will have new life in Christ and for them to experience adoption for the second time. I cannot wait to welcome the child God has chosen to be in our family into our home. I cannot wait to hold him/her tightly in my arms. I cannot wait for the word "orphan" to no longer identify our child. I cannot wait!!! During this time that we do have to wait, please join us in praying for the baby growing inside me and for the sweet little Ethiopian child who might not even be born yet. Thank you for covering us in prayer, and we will keep you updated over the next couple of years on our journey to bring our child home.

Our new blog name is from a song that has resonated in my heart over the past year leading up to this adoption and pregnancy.

"strength for today and bright HOPE for tomorrow, Great is thy Faithfulness Lord unto me".

Lamentations 3:22-24 - 
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, 

“therefore I will hope in him.”

link for the picture 

Saturday, November 19, 2011


My blog (that I need to update more frequently!) was featured on Remodelaholic today! I love love love this blog, and I was super surprised to see that my post on my master bedroom was going to be featured. Go HERE to check it out! Thanks Remodelaholic!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stencils and fall decorations

I am bad at blogging. Sorry to be so sporadic and inconsistent with this blog :(. I have found some time in the last month or two to do a few crafts in the midst of a pretty hectic and crazy schedule. I bought some stencils a few months ago to do a project for our master bedroom. There was one big blank wall that needed a little help.... but I couldn't figure out what would be an inexpensive option. Recently, I saw a canvas that said "everyday I love you" in Lulu, a fun store in downtown Franklin, that I decided to try to make.

So... I bought some stencils. In the store they looked smaller than they did when I brought them home, so ended up needing two canvases to stencil the phrase onto instead of one. Good thing the canvases I bought came in a pack of two. I stenciled them on the white canvas using black paint. The black was a little too black for me, so after it dried I lightly brushed some white paint over the whole canvas to lighten it up a bit. Then I took a piece of sand paper and sanded over the entire canvas to give it a distressed look. Here is how they turned out.

The project cost me about $15, and I have already used the stencils again, so it was definitely a cost effective addition to our bare wall :).

This afternoon, I used the stencils to make a "Fall" banner for our mantle. I already had the garland up, I just added the burlap pennants to it. I saw this banner on pinterest and have been wanting to make something similar for our home.

Here is the one I saw on pinterest:
Here is the one that I made:

 Here is a glimpse at our other Fall decorations.

There is chili cooking in my crock pot right now and there is a super beautiful maple tree turning bright red in the backyard. Fall is here, and I am loving it. This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. I hope you all are enjoying this season too! Happy Fall!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

kitchen table make-over

Helllooooo :). I'm really bad at blogging. I think about what I want to put on the blog a lot, but I am bad at actually putting out the effort to get my thoughts/projects/what we're up to on the blog. I thought life would slow down once summer came. It did not, so now I'm hoping life will slow down now that school is back in session. Probably not :). Even though life has been a tad bit busy as of late, we (Brian and I:) are really thankful for where God has brought us and to be a part of a lot of great things going on in our lives and in the life of Station Hill, and blessed with some great friends to spend time with and together live life with. God is good. In the midst of the craziness, I have found time to do some projects at our house. One of the things I recently worked on was staining our kitchen table. We have received quite a bit of furniture, for FREE, from our families. So blessed and so thankful. Our kitchen table came from Brian's Granny's house. It is a really beautiful table, but the color of the wood didn't really fit with all of the dark wood in the rest of our house. I have been wanting to try to stain it for awhile now, but I have been a little bit nervous about messing it up and not being able to make it look beautiful again. I read a bunch of tutorials on staining tables, and I finally decided to give it a chance. Here are a few before pictures:

The last one is the table with out the extra leaf in the middle. We decided to keep it with the leaf in it. It fits the space better.

Here is what I did:

Sanded the top of the table and the seat of the chairs for a LONG time. The wood was super shiny, so it took me a long time to get it to the point where the wood was no longer shiny and felt a little bit rough. The stain soaks in better when the shiny surface is gone. Then I wiped the table and chairs down and let them dry. To stain the table, I brushed on a layer of dark walnut stain and let it soak and then wiped off the excess with a washcloth. I let the stain dry, lightly sanded the table again, and put on another layer of stain. I did this three times. I don't think I let the stain soak in long enough before wiping it off so I had to do multiple coats to get it dark enough. After the 3rd coat had dried, I brushed on a coat of clear polyurethane (satin finish). I sanded it after it dried and then re-applied a second coat. I let the table dry for 24 hours, and then I lightly sanded the table again to give it a distressed look.

For the chairs: After they were sanded, I primed them and then painted them white to match the rest of the chair. I am planning on distressing the edges using the same color stain that I used on the table. I will do that soon and post a picture :).

Here is the finished product. Thankfully I didn't mess it up too bad. I think once the chairs are distressed I will like the look of the table a lot more.

I'm not sure why I have been so scared of staining this table for so long. It was definitely a lot easier and harder to mess up then I expected :). I'll blog about some of my other projects soon. Here is the recent project I did for our bedroom (the "every day I love you" canvas) that I will blog about once I put a picture in the frame :). Then it will be complete.
Have a great Monday!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

burlap wreath

Welp... While at work on Thursday, I started loosing my voice until I pretty much had none. I thought I had just talked too much (sometimes I definitely talk too much). Then the sore throat came, then the fever, then the HORRIBLE body aches. I guess it was more than just talking to much. We had a lot of fun things planned for the weekend.... breakfast with Arley and ML, Pucketts to hear Carl Wayne, 5k to raise money for orphans in Haiti, some friends coming over to our house, farmer's market to hear Dennis Mihalek's band.... and so on. FUN WEEKEND!! Due to this illness, our weekend instead consisted of movies on the couch. I also had lots of time to look at some of my favorite blogs and pinterest (my new love). I saw a wreath on THIS blog and I decided to use some of my sick time at home to make a similar wreath for the front door... since I already had all the materials at my house.

This is the first time I looked at the picture of the wreath since way before I decided to make one like it. I think I now need to add a few more burlap circles to mine, but for now it will be just fine. Here is how I made my wreath.

I already had this wreath wrapped in fabric, but I had some other flowers on it that were pretty plain looking. I removed the flowers and used this wreath for my base for the burlap circles. (The pictures are taken with my cell phone... sorry!)

I cut out lots of circles out of burlap and two different left over fabric I had from other projects.

Then I just pinned them in place around the wreath and hung it on the door with some green ribbon. 

I  also made a chalkboard sign for my sugar jar to match the one I made for the Flour awhile ago. Chalkboards and burlap are taking over my house.

I'm glad doing a little crafting made this sick weekend at home a little bit more enjoyable. I guess the Lord new I needed a restful weekend and this was pretty much the only way that was going to happen. Hope to see you when I am no longer quarantined to my couch.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

master bedroom redo

The week we moved in we painted most of the downstairs thanks to the help from a few friends and because we were trying to paint before the movers arrived with all of our furniture. We decided to hold off on the master bedroom. A year later it is finally done (almost). Here is what it looked like before we moved in.... this picture does not give the ugliness justice.

The paint color seriously looked like poop. This was also the color of our kitchen (who wants their kitchen to look like poop?!). The kitchen is now wedgewood gray (which is actually more like a cheerful blue), and our bedroom also finally got a few coats (not coates:) of paint. I usually enjoy painting, but I was a little bit intimidated by our bedroom. It has tray ceilings, and there were a few cracks in the ceiling and dry wall nails that had popped through, so we decided to hire a professional to do the work for us. Carl Wayne Meekins came to the rescue. He goes to our church and stays busy playing the guitar and singing and to my surprise, painting! We were happy to hire someone we knew and trusted to get the job done, and Carl Wayne did an amazing job. The cracks are all gone, and you would have never known they were there. The paint colors we chose were Comfort Gray on the walls and tray, and Rice Grain on the ceiling. They are both Sherwin Williams colors. I usually stick with Benjamin Moore and the Restoration Hardware colors, but I found out about these colors on one the blogs I read, Nesting Place, and so I decided to try them out. At first, I thought it was a little too blue and not enough gray for my taste, but once the room was decorated, I was really really happy with the color! Here are some pictures with details of where I bought some of the items for our bedroom. We were able to do the whole thing pretty cheap with some DIY projects and cheap buys from my favorite, Ikea.

Here is what it looks like now:

After the room was painted Comfort gray, I recovered my previously blue diy headboard with some gray chevron fabric I ordered from Tonic Living.  I had wanted the chevron pattern to be horizontal but it wasn't wide enough to cover the whole headboard that way. Oh well... I still love the fabric!! Here is the blog post with how I originally made the headboard.
Another addition were the curtains. I found the white curtains at IKEA for $20 and the rods there for $1.99 a rod!! I love IKEA. The pillow with yellow flowers is from Target. I saw it on Young House Love a long time ago, and I have been wanting to buy it ever since. I was waiting for it to go on sale, but it never did :( so I used a gift card so it didn't seem as bad. It was only $25, but to me it still seemed like a lot to spend on a pillow that's only purpose is to look cute :).

I also made a little reading corner in our room with a chair I bought at IKEA for only $49... And it's actually comfortable. The side table was $7 at IKEA and the magazine rack was $9. 

The circles on the wall are quilting circles that were only $1 a piece at Hobby Lobby. I just put the extra fabric in them I had left from my headboard and some other fabric I already had and hung them on the wall. So cheap and easy!! I am going to add a lamp to this corner and maybe even a foot rest if I can find one for a good price. I also made the flower on the pillow with a little (a lot) of hot glue and glued it right on the pillow. Here is a tutorial on making fabric flowers. 
I also made a little arrangement with the quilting circles, a "C" I had from our wedding decor, and a cheap mirror I bought awhile back at the Spring Hill antique mall for less than $10. 
I need to re-paint my dresser and buy some candles for the thing sitting on top of my dresser, and then that part of the room will be finished.

I bought some black frames from IKEA for $7 a piece and put yellow scrapbook paper in them that I already had. I also got the cute white frame from Ikea for a whopping 99 cents and I found the metal tins at Kroger on clearance. I can't remember how much... I just know they were cheap. The candle is from Anthro... a gift from my good friend Kristen. It smells amazing.

We still have a few things to do. I need something for above our bed. I was going to put the sunburst mirror I recently made there, but it was way too big, so I'm trying to find something else. I have a few ideas for the wall across from our bed that I need to work on. We also have to pick a paint color for the bathroom. I think I am going to go with a gray that actually looks gray and not blue :). As you can see from the below picture, we have started putting samples on the wall, I just haven't decided which color to go with quite yet. 


I am so happy to not have to look at those dirty brown walls any longer and have a more calm and light bedroom to come home too. Let me know if you know of any paint colors that would look good in the bathroom. Thanks for reading!