Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I was cleaning up my Google account and deleted some photos albums that I thought I no longer needed. Turns out, those albums were linked to the blog - oops! Photos will be back (eventually) :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Great I Am

(Sorry for the poor picture quality. This post originally had edited photos, but then the site hosting those got deleted, so I had to re-upload the originals from my phone. I couldn't bring myself to make time to re-edit all the photos!)

After the encouragement boost I got from trying this chalkboard project, I decided that I could certainly tackle another (easier) craft I've been wanting to try for a while as well. It's a combination of inspiration I got from these wonderful pieces of art:
Click here for original project
Click here for original project
Click here for original project
Step 1) I started with spray mount, modge podge, a blank canvas, a foam brush, and a Bible:


Step 2) I (sheepishly) tore out the pages from the book of Exodus that I wanted to
use, and spread them out over the canvas to create a visual of what pages I wanted where:

Step 3) I then removed the papers to the side, sprayed my canvas with spray mount, and then carefully placed the papers back on the canvas. I then wrapped the excess around the backside of the canvas, and cut off the fringe:

Step 4) Next, I added a few remaining pages to the front side to create a "scattered" look. I secured these addition pages using the spray mount:

Step 5) I then went over the pages (including the back edges) with 2 layers of Modge Podge, letting the canvas dry overnight in between to prevent the pages from getting soggier than necessary. A little sogginess is unavoidable because the Modge Podge is wet, but if you spread out your Modge Podging, you can prevent total saturation:

Step 6) I used vinyl letters (from Hobby Lobby) to mark where I didn't want paint to go. I used acrylic paint to cover the canvas. I only did one layer of paint, because I wanted the Bible pages to still show through a little:

Step 7) When the paint was dry, I slowly peeled off my letters, and was left with my finished product!
Finished product!
It's home for right now.

Giving it grace: Why "I Am"? In the book of Exodus, God sends Moses to free the Isrealites, God's people, from slavery. In response to this command from God, Moses asks God, "who do I tell them sent me?". God's response to Moses' questioning gives me chills every time I read it. God doesn't give Moses some elaborate answer, He simply says, "tell them 'I Am' has sent you to them." That's it - God is simply "I Am", and He doesn't even need to say anything more. It's not "I am God", or "I am the creator of the universe", or even "I am in charge - tell them I'm in charge!". Nope - just "I Am". Period. Every time I start to get all uppity with God because I don't like His plan or I don't understand His timing, I love to come back to this powerful reminder of how big God is - and thus how big His grace is. I love how small it makes me feel on this earth, knowing how big and powerful God is, and how He, the Great I Am, can handle my every little need perfectly because He knows my needs best - as He created me, and my needs! And so, I leave you with this song, because it's the song my little craft always makes me think of (you'll know why at about 2:35):

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chalkboard Project

(Sorry for the poor picture quality. This post originally had edited photos, but then the site hosting those got deleted, so I had to re-upload the originals from my phone. I couldn't bring myself to make time to re-edit all the photos!)

I've been seeing a lot of chalkboard projects floating around on Pinterest (like this one here) for a while, and I decided that I finally wanted to try my hand at making my own! I consider this project an actual "craft" because it involves more than three steps (referring to the silly differentiation I made here).

Step 1) Purchase large picture frames. I picked these two up at the Goodwill by my house. After much debating, I ended up getting two for a whopping $20 total. The frames were in great condition, and the glass wasn't all musty or scratched.

(I could NOT get this picture to rotate correctly, sorry!)
Step 2) Take the frames apart. For the yellow frame, this involved taking the back covering off. This was good news, in my opinion, because it pretty much guaranteed me that the little staples holding the back of the picture in would not be already manipulated to the point of breaking off just from me touching them. I have no idea how to get those staples in once they come out, so I was relieved to know I was probably getting fresh staples that had never been bent.

Step 3) Sand the frames down to be primed and painted. Kyle was excited to use our little sanding mouse to help with this part. We bought the sanding mouse a long time ago with a wedding gift card and haven't been able to use it yet. It worked great!

Step 4) Prepare the glass. I followed these instructions here on how to prep the glass for painting. First I used Goo Gone to remove the price tag sticker, and then washed the glass clean with Windex. Then, I used some fine grit sandpaper to buff the glass. This isn't pictured, but it's just like it sounds - put the sand paper on the glass and "sand". No real visible particles will come off the glass, but the sandpaper will create a dust residue, so use a wet rag or cloth to wipe it clean when done. 

Step 5) Paint the glass. This part was scary! I've never worked with chalkboard paint before, so I had to research what kind to get. After much research, it seemed that spray paint goes on smoother but doesn't last as long, whereas paint from the can goes on rougher but lasts way longer (so I wont have to add more coats as often). I decided to use paint from a can because I want to be able to design and erase multiple times before I have to add more coats.

The paint goes on just like regular paint. I don't know why this was so shocking to me, but for some reason it just seems magical - the whole idea of paint that makes a chalkboard.

I used a medium sized polyester roller I had left over from when we painted the walls. I also tried using a mini-foam roller we had on hand, and it seemed to just slide across the glass instead of rolling. Something about the polyester roller made the roller actually roll across the glass - which is what I wanted.

I read on-line that the paint will look "bubbly" when it first goes on, and that's okay. It gets less bubbly as it dries and more coats are added. You can see here the bubbly effect:

When the first coat dried, it was much more smooth. You can see here that there were some imperfections, including a fuzzy from the roller that dried in the paint and I had to yank it out with a pair of tweezers (far right).

It was all covered up as additional coats were added. I did three coats total, letting them dry 24 hours each time.

Step 6) This step can be done at any time, really. As I was letting the glass dry, I started adding coats of white paint to the frames. The primer coat is shown below. I added three more coats of white paint to the frames (just some semi-gloss indoor white paint we had left over).

Step 7) Put the dried glass back into the white frame and voila - all done! I followed the instructions I found on-line and ran a piece of chalk sideways over the entire exposed chalkboard surface to "buffer" the surface. Decorate! I found these free printables on-line and decided it wouldn't be too hard to replicate onto the chalkboard. Not my best artwork ever, but I'm still pretty pleased!

Giving it grace: This project was fun because Kyle got to help me with it, and he too was curious to see how the chalkboard paint worked. It was also fun because this craft was way out of my comfort zone...so many steps! BUT - it's fun to try new things, and even though it's not Etsy worthy, I still really enjoy it! I'm thankful for this season in our lives where we have the time, money, and energy to try, explore and experience things that aren't crucial to our livelihood, but are still fruitful and make good memories :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Fudge Making

 While we're much enjoying our Indian summer here in Seattle, fall is definitely here! We've been having fun with the change in seasons (despite my hatred of the cold, fall is my favorite season!).

My mom, sister and I got together to try our hand at my mom's fudge recipe. It was a really fun afternoon, and the fudge turned out amazing!

Giving it grace: Growing up, making fudge was something my mom did every year around the holidays. It was always an exciting event, as it meant Christmas was near! I never remember her looking at a recipe card while making the fudge, and sure enough - she showed up at my house with just the ingredients, and the recipe was in her head! I can barely follow instructions to make a salad without a recipe card, let alone memorize the ingredients  proportions, and cooking instructions. Watching my mom direct us on how to make the fudge simply from memory made me excited to try and memorize the recipe myself someday, and pass it on to my kids as well. Getting the recipe "right" is not nearly as important as getting it close to being right, and adding in a little love (or some extra sugar - same thing right?) along the way. By the end of the afternoon, we had two great batches of fudge (Kyle and I are still working on ours, and it's been almost a month!), one shockingly painful boiling butter burn (me), and many good memories!