Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Creative Bible Journaling - April Pages

Come along with me each month as I journal my way through the Bible.  I'm not artistic at all, so you won't see beautiful illustrations and calligraphy, but what you will see is what I gleaned from the scriptures every day and how I creatively journaled what I have learned in the margins of my Inspire Bible.

I've got just a few pages to share with you this month.  I don't know what happened, I know I read my Bible everyday, but I just must not have journaled as much.  Now next month, I have a ton of pages!

During the month of April I spent my time in the book of Psalms...the EASIEST book in the Bible to journal in.  

In Psalm 63 David says God's "love is better than life itself".  Do you believe that?  Do you love God more than life itself?  I think I do.  But when I am put to the test, during a time where I am even wondering where God is, will I believe this?  I hope and pray so.

To make this page, I put a piece of designer page in the margin then I put a light coat of white craft paint over it to tone down the design so that the words could be more easily seen.  I used stamps for all the words, adding a die cut heart around the word "love" to emphasize it.  Finally, I colored in some of the flowers in the designer paper with pink and yellow craft paint.


This next page is so important in the Christian life.  So many Christians pray and don't receive answers, wondering why God doesn't hear the prayer.  There could be many reasons for that, but one could be unconfessed sin.  We must always go to God with a clean heart in prayer and confess our sins.  But if you have confessed your sins and still feel God isn't listening, just be patient.  God always answers our prayers.  I once heard a speaker say "there are always three answers to a prayer:  "not yet", "yes", or "no, I've got something better in mind."

To make this page, I first applied a sheet of pink paper in the margin and then used a combination of stamps and my own hand writing for the verse.  The praying man was a free image off the Internet.  The heart is a die cut.  I added some white paint dots for embellishment. 


What a joyful verse this next one is!  Yes, let's rejoice!  No matter what is going in our lives or in our world, lets "be glad in God's presence" and "be filled with joy".  I know it can be so hard during difficult times to be joyful.  But we have a beautiful, miraculous future to look forward to!  It's during hard times that we really must focus in on the Lord, and soak up His presence.  It helps to take our minds off our circumstances.

I love to listen to news Podcasts, I could play them all day long.  But somedays, the negativity really gets me down and that's when I say "Enough!"  I turn it off, and turn on some worship music instead, and before long my focus has changed.  I have entered His Presence, and I'm singing, and happy, and praising the Lord.  

To make this page, I once again used white craft paint to tone down the designer paper.  Then I used a variety of stamps for the Bible verse and added paper flowers for embellishment.

I love this verse and the image I found on the Internet.  Jesus is the shepherd who watches over and cares for his sheep...you and I!  The word says "each day He carries us in His arms!"  Isn't that incredible?  When you wake up in the morning, expecting a bad day because of some reason or another, remind yourself of this verse.  Jesus is carrying you!  Give the load to Him!

To make this page I painted the margin with green craft paint then using a mixture of stumps and my own handwriting I wrote the verse.  The image was found on the Internet.  I simply printed it and colored it in.



David had to wait quite awhile to see his prayers answered, but he never stopped praying and he always praised God through the trials.  He consistently felt God's love and mercy through the most difficult times while he waited for the answer.  We can do that too!  Just because we're going through hard times and it seems our prayers are going unanswered, doesn't mean we still can't feel His loving presence in our lives.

I have a friend going through a very painful cancer, but the comfort He gets from the Lord amazes me.  He recently said "God is good, no matter our circumstances.  His character remains the same...the God of all comfort".  Despite my friend's physical suffering, he is getting spiritual comfort from the Lord and he is being an encouragement and an inspiration of faith to us all.

For this page, I painted the background with different shades of craft paint.  The sentiment was done with a variety of stamps, stickers, and my own handwriting.  The praying girl is an image off the Internet that I printed and colored in.


And for my last page I have another joy-filled Bible verse.  Becoming a believer is almost always a search filled process.  When you hear believers testimonies, most of them tried everything else the world had to offer first, as if they are searching for something to fill them but they're looking in all the wrong places.  Here David acknowledges that search, and asks God to fill them with "Joy and Gladness".

To make this page, I used a variety of stamps and stickers for the sentiment, underlining a few key words.  I used stamps for the flowers and colored them in with pencils.  I sponged some blue on the border.  I made a mistake stamping the word "Gladness" so to fix it, I just stamped the word on another piece of paper and put in on top.  It kinda makes the word "Gladness" stand out more.  It's an example of how are Bible Journaling mistakes can be fixed.


 I hope you enjoyed my Bible Journaling pages this month!  

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Spring Dresses with Ageless Style

Ageless Style is a monthly style challenge and link up for women of all ages.   Each month we pick a different theme and style an outfit based on that theme.  This month's theme is "Spring Tops" and was picked by Me!

Spring is the perfect time of year to wear pretty dresses, especially since we have two holidays in spring:  Easter and Mother's Day.  I'm a dress/skirt girl.  A lot of women don't like to wear dresses anymore, but I love it.  I wear dresses and skirts all summer long, and I prefer them over shorts any day.  The dress I have on in today's post is three year old.  I last wore it on a snowy Easter Sunday at home during the pandemic.  You can read all about it in THIS POST and see how differently I styled it then.  You can also see what the dress looks like without the jacket in that post. 


I picked this dress for our "Spring Dresses" theme because I think pastel colors are perfect for spring dresses.  My only issue was we can still have chilly days in Wisconsin during spring, so I had to figure out a way to warm the dress up a bit as it is a halter-style dress.  I thought of wearing a white cardigan, but I ultimately went with a denim jacket to try and edge up a very feminine outfit.  I'm not sure I succeeded in that 😆


I think the dress looks much better with heels as shown in my other post.  The longer length of the dress requires heels to elongate the legs.  But since not everyone likes or can wear heels, I wanted to show what it would like with comfortable flats.


I'm still getting a lot of use out of my thrifted handbag.  I can't believe how many compliments I get on this handbag too...and for something that cost me pennies!  It seems every woman wants a good neutral bag and is having trouble finding one like I did.  Now I'm on a hunt for a spacious cross body bag for an upcoming vacation.  I have so many crossbody bags already, but it seems none of them can fit everything I need to carry inside.  Do any of you wonderful ladies have any recommendations?


The denim jacket is super old and is from JCPenney.


My comfy flats are even older:  they are from Payless Shoe Source.  I'm not even sure they are even in business anymore.  I miss them!





 Now be sure and check out all the pretty dresses the other ladies in my group are wearing and don't forget to link up with us as well.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Amy ~ Amy’s Creative Pursuits

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Bo ~ Bo's Bodacious Blog

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Joanna ~ My Slice of Life

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Jodie ~ Jodie’s Touch of Style

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Leslie ~ Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After

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Marsha~ Marsha in the Middle

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Mireille ~ Chez Mireille Fashion Travel Mom

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Rosemary ~ Distinctly Southern Style

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Tuesday, May 2, 2023

How To Remodel Your Kitchen By Making Just A Few Changes

Well it took me four months, but I finally finished my kitchen.  Even though as the title of my post suggests, I didn't do a complete transformation, it was still a lot of work!  I've been putting off re-doing this kitchen for years because I was dreading how much work it would be, but I finally plunged ahead and did it and I couldn't be happier with the results.  I just took it super slow, so that it didn't seem overwhelming.  I had the goal of completing only one wall or a half a wall a week depending on its size.  It was inconvenient to take it so slow as one needs to use a kitchen everyday, so you can imagine how chaotic it was making meals: "Now where is the silverware?" was a common question asked all four months 😆. But taking it slow was a great idea for both my stress levels, and my aging old body.

Ok, on to the tour!  First of all, as always and keeping true to my "I'm the worst blogger in there world" self-award, I don't have a lot of "before" or "during" photos.  But honestly, this post is already so photo heavy, if I would have put all the "before" pictures in this post, it would be too long.  So, if you want to see "Before" photos, you will have to go to this post HERE, otherwise, you will only see two "Before" photos on this post.


I'm going to the tour the kitchen from right to left making a complete circle from the entry point to the kitchen.  The photo below is how the kitchen looks as you just walk into the room.  Behind me would be the dining room, so it's not a far walk at all to the eating area.  It's a small kitchen:  wider than a galley kitchen but not wide enough to eat in or have an island.

Now, it may look like the kitchen has all its original woodwork, but I assure you everything but the cabinet doors is new and made to look old.  A previous homeowner gutted this kitchen in the 70s and removed any of its late 1800s history.  My husband and I wanted to restore the kitchen to its old-world charm while keeping  modern day necessities.  All of these restorations were completed twenty-five years ago.


Now let's talk about "How I Remodeled My Kitchen By Making Just a Few Changes".  

 1) Declutter
 The first thing I did was declutter.  I donated everything I didn't use or didn't love.  The top photo (sorry for the bad quality but it's a very old photo) shows what the china cabinets looked "Before" and the bottom photo shows them "After".  I couldn't believe what a difference decluttering alone made in the room.

2) Remove any Dated Decor

The second small change I made was to eliminate any dated decor;  such as the stenciled border above the wainscoting. 



3)  Clean

4) Give the Room a Fresh Coat of Pain

The china cabinets were all custom made by my husband 25 years ago, but the entire room was in dire need of a fresh coat of paint.  The 25 year old white paint was really starting to show its age with yellowing, stains, and chips.  So every single cabinet door had to come off and be sanded, primed, and re-painted. Oh, and I forgot, first I had to clean 25 years of grease!  Yikes!  That took a week to do alone.


I had so much junk on and in these china cabinets that I never used anymore...so out they went.  I couldn't believe how much nicer everything looked once all the "junk" was gone.

Here is how I keep some of my spices from my garden that I use everyday:  large vintage blue canning jars with handmade chalkboard labels.


5) Bring in Fresh New Decor

After sending boxes and boxes of "stuff" off to the thrift store, I didn't want to run to the store and buy all new things, but I did buy a few new things to keep up with the current trends.  I removed the old plates off the wall and added these modern floral prints from Hobby Lobby.  They have an unfinished wooden frame which matches the other natural wood finished in the room.

I should also mention that the wall color is not what it actually looks like in real life.  For some reason they turn out a taupe color in the photos, but the walls are painted "Colonial White", a soft, off-white with yellow undertones.  The cabinets are painted "Ultra-White" in a high gloss.


6). Color Coordinate the Room

This is cabinet number 2.  I got rid of anything "Yellow" that was in the original kitchen, and stuck with only blue, white, silver, crystal, and natural wood.  When you have open cabinetry like this, the way to avoid the cluttered, messy look is to keep the colors unified.


On this shelf I put plates and bowls that we use the most (once again only in shades of blue and white), and Jackson's pet food.


The large center wall features the sink, dishwasher, and microwave.


7) Add New Curtains

I used to have a striped blue and yellow curtain and I replaced them with this vintage black and white stripe.  I had the hardest time finding just the right material to make my new curtains, and I had to make them because I wanted the window curtain and sink curtain to match.  I ultimately found a curtain panel at Walmart that was exactly what I was looking for, so I cut it up and made both curtains out of one panel for $8.00.


8) Add New Space Rugs

I purchased two new rugs for the room.  This one is a grey anti-fatigue mat from Walmart.  The other rug you'll see later in the post.


On each side of the sink is an area to display decorative items (if you wish, they could also be used for practical items).  In the photos below you can see what a difference decluttering makes.  The left is the "Before" photo and the right is the "After Photo".    

I kept only one item on each shelf and I removed the color yellow from the room.



9)  Add a New Countertop

I know, I know, adding a new counter top is not a small change, but it does make a big impact in the room if you're not going to change much else.  In my situation, I had to have a new counter top because the previous one was damaged, otherwise, I would have kept my old counter top.  I looked into painting a counter top and/or using one of those epoxy finishes, but in the end, it cost the same amount of money to just buy a new laminate counter top and it was probably half the amount of work.  If I would have painted the counter top, it would have taken three days.  By ordering a counter top cut-to-size, and paying extra to have the sink portion pre-cut, it took my husband and I less than 4 hours to put in.

The long band of unfinished wood you see in the photo is a cutting board that can be pulled out when needed.


I chose a laminate faux-marble counter top for several reasons.  1) Marble is on trend  2) I wanted white countertops, but an all white counter top would not provide enough contrast to the cupboards, whereas the black veining gives just the right amount of contrast  3) My old countertops were blue, and over time the blue finish wore off in spots.  I didn't want that to happen again, so I wanted to avoid a dark color where wear and tear would show.  If this counter top starts to wear off in spots, it will not be as noticeable. And  4) We went with a laminate instead of real marble because we wanted to do the work ourselves.



On top of my new counter top I added this round wooden serving tray to keep my water pitcher and hold other items like fruit.  This has worked out really nice for it keeps the counter clean because everything goes on the tray and not the counter.  Items don't get spread out all over the counter making a cluttered mess;  they stay neatly on the tray.


10)  Spray Paint Items to Give Them a New Look

On the far end of the kitchen is a plate rail (hand made by my hubby 25 years ago), and a rolling kitchen cart and stepping stool.


My old kitchen had an open yellow and white metal rolling cart and the stepping stool was also yellow and white.  I have to have a stepping stool in this kitchen to reach items in my upper cabinets.  I thought of buying a new one, but my old one has much history with my family.  The grandkids love sitting on this stool when they come over and would have been heartbroken if I would have gotten rid of it.  So, using black and silver spray paint, I repainted it.  It wasn't easy, I had to wrap one section while I sprayed the other to keep the two colors separate, but I did it.

The cart, I was happy to get rid of.  I ordered this new wooden one from Amazon and I couldn't be more pleased with it.  I'm using it now as a coffee bar, but it will come in handy during canning season when I need more counter space.  I will simply roll it over to the stove area and extend the leaves.


11)  Buy New Appliances

The only new appliance I purchased was a coffee maker.  My old one leaked plus was starting to look kinda nasty, wrecking the look of my "New Kitchen".  I chose this one by Hamilton Beach because I only drink one cup of coffee a day, but I still want to have a carafe option for when I have company.  I absolutely LOVE this coffee maker!  You can use any size mug or travel mug, you just adjust the heights of the "cups" (the round items underneath my mug).


12)  Buy New Dinnerware

I did buy new dinner plates because I actually needed more.  We were always running out of plates, especially when the grandkids came over.  This set is from Target

On top of the plate rail, I added a wooden sign I already owned, and a new silver rustic container from Hobby Lobby filled with greenery.


And now for the last wall of the kitchen.  On this wall is the refrigerator and stove.  My husband built the entire wooden structure surrounding the stove 25 years ago.  The tile is nice to have next to a stove because I can set hot things on it straight from the stove top or oven without worrying about damaging the counter top.


This was another area where I did some major decluttering.  I had so much "stuff" cluttering the top and cubbies before.  Everything went "bye-bye" except for what I really loved and/or used.


The first thing I did was take just about everything off the top of the cupboard leaving only a few decorative pieces.  Oh, what a relief that was!  Everything up here always got coated with a nasty dust/grease and it was so time-consuming to clean.  By keeping only a minimum number of objects on the top shelf, it will make cleaning a lot easier.


13)  Buy New Usable Kitchen Items

If you couldn't tell by now, I love, love, love all the natural wooden decor that's trending right now.  But, staying true to my "Don't keep it if you can't use it", I didn't want to buy anything new that I didn't use.  Well, I do use cutting boards, so I bought two in different sizes from TJMaxx.  They not only look lovely as a decoration, but I use them as well.

The cookie jar is actually an oversized Ball canning jar from Menards.  It makes the perfect cookie jar because I cannot only see all my pretty homemade cookies, but it is air tight as well.

I had so many blue and white items that were gifts from my family and friends that I didn't want to part with.  The blue and white planter was from my daughter years ago.  I simply put a real plant inside to add some color.


14)  Use Coordinating Decorative Containers

When I decluttered this area, I removed most of the decor-only items and kept only decorative containers to hold items I use almost everyday like flour, sugar, tea, etc.  I keep garlic cloves in the blue and white ceramic container.

Before my kitchen remodel I had a huge problem storing all my spices.  I have a huge collection of spices and I had them scattered all over the kitchen in various spots.  Cooking was always a challenge because I was constantly searching for the right spice, and I often ended up buying duplicate spices because I couldn't find them.   I decided I had to figure out how to attractively and practically store my spices and this is what I came up with:


On either side of the stove is a bamboo spice rack with all my spices in alphabetical order.  Cooking is a breeze now because all the spices are so handy and so easy to find!


I purchased both the spice racks and spice jars from Amazon.  They come with two different sets of labels, white and black, and also blank labels if you have a spice that wasn't included in their labels.

Underneath the stove area is my second new rug which I mentioned earlier.  This one is a machine-washable rug from Tumble.  I know so many people are probably thinking "You put that beautiful rug underneath your stove?"  Yes, because I needed a rug here to cover up both an unused vent and a flaw in the flooring.  I also think it adds a lot of aesthetic to the room.  The rug 'warms' up all the hard surfaces of the room.  I chose a blue and white Persian theme because the colors match the colors in the room and the company recommended a Persian rug in a Modern Farmhouse kitchen.  

I did drop a couple of things on my rug, and I just spot treated it immediately so it didn't stain.  I also have washed it once, and I couldn't believe how easy it was.  The rug came out of the washer as perfect as the day I received it.  



15)  Add New Lighting

And finally, my 15th and last recommended change to make when remodeling a kitchen is to add new lighting.  I can't begin to tell you how I agonized over this.  I always want to stay true to the character of the house when I remodel, but this room with the old lighting fixture was so dark I couldn't see!  I needed to fix the lighting issues so I not only could see what I was doing in this room, but also, just to turn this small, dark space into a lighter, brighter space.  I looked at so many different lighting options, but ultimately decided track lighting was the way to go.  I could aim the individual spot lights where all the dark areas of the kitchen were.  I can't tell you how bright this room is now.  It was actually hard for our eyes to adjust to the brightness of this room because we were so use to the darkness.  




So, I didn't knock down any walls, tear out any cabinets, or buy new large appliances, but I managed to make big changes to my kitchen by making just a few small changes and a lot of hard work.  Here is a summary of my costs:

--Paint

  • one gallon of primer
  • one gallon of wall paint
  • two gallons of cabinet paint

                                                                                                                                                        $135.00

--New Decor

  •     wall hangings
  •     spice rack
  •     greenery
  •     wooden serving tray and cutting boards
  •     dinnerware
  •      curtains
  •      rugs
  •      cookie jar and water pitcher
  •      tins
  •      rolling cart

                                                                                                                                                         $700.00

                                   



--New Small Appliances
  • coffee maker                                                                                                                          $ 75.00


--New Lighting
  • track lighting
                                                                                                                                                    $160.00

--New Countertop
  • High Resolution Laminate Countertop                                                                             $300.00

                                                                                                                  Grand Total:               $1370.00



Wow! I can't believe it cost over $1000 to remodel my kitchen especially since we did all the work ourselves and I didn't change much.  I can't even begin to imagine what this would have cost if I hired someone.  But I am very pleased with the results and I don't think I will ever remodel my kitchen again, as I will probably be dead or in a retirement home when the next 25 years is up!  😆

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!