Friday, May 20, 2011

Bedroom Design, Post #2

Are you ready to see more of my new bedroom?

This month, in honor of my one-year anniversary in this bedroom, I'm posting photos of how I've decorated it. To see the first post, click here.

Now, as I explained before, this is a modest-sized room, and there is nothing extra spectacular about it except that it's mine. A few basic statistics:

~ The room measures approximately 8'x12' (minus the space the closet takes up).
~ There's one double window, on one of the long sides of the room.
~ I have a small closet, with two rods for hanging, and two shelves.
~ The floors are wooden.
~ The walls are simple, with no molding or otherwise "extra" architecture.

It was a blank slate, just waiting for some love and imagination. And I was happy to provide both.

My tastes in room decor are basic and traditional, with a touch of my own personality. I believe in the old saying "have nothing in your home which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

I lean toward colonial furniture and colors, and I love to have echoes of nature about me.

My idea of beauty in a room is sunlight, and real flowers, and fresh air, and good, sturdy materials that can stand up to wear and tear. I hate idle little knickknacks that do nothing but collect dust, and fussy arrangements that can't last through real life. I want things about me that I use, and I want to use beautiful things. I don't like to be tied up in trends, and I'm not fussy about sticking to a particular "style," though I love historical-looking rooms. If I enjoy having it around me, then I incorporate it into the decor. Everything matches because everything is "me."

I love space. I think space and light are two of the most valuable things to put in a room.

Here were my main goals in decorating my bedroom:

~ Make the room look larger than it is
~ Have a place for everything I use on a regular basis, and make it easy to put things away
~ Have some blank spaces, just for visual peace
~ Make the room feel peaceful
~ Have a work area, for writing and business
~ Have only furniture that I love

To accomplish this, I:
~ Chose to use a lot of blue and white in the decor. I love that combo anyway. White makes things look larger and emptier, and blue give the impression of calm.
~ Took a lot of effort in designing a closet that could hold a lot of things
~ Concentrated my storage in some areas so that I could have the luxury of empty spaces in other areas
~ Did not use full curtains on my windows. I wanted as much glass and light as possible. I used a light white swag on the top, and I pull down blinds at night.
~ Got rid of a lot of stuff. :) :)

Of course, I had to make at least one compromise:
~ I picked a bed that was high off the floor, because I loved the colonial style, and I did not use under-the-bed storage. It was a lot of storage space that I gave up, but it would have ruined the effect, and by leaving the floor visible, I gave the appearance of having a larger floor. It gives a touch of luxury to the room, by having nothing under the bed. :)

(This is coming from a girl who spent her childhood stuffing all her pack-rat-collected items under the bed and pulling the comforter down a little farther to hide the mess from Mom and Dad.)

Oh dear. I've just realized how very opinionated and brisk I sound in all my lists and descriptions; "I can't stand this," "I hate that," "I love that." You must think I go around criticizing every room I enter.

The truth is, I love interior design, and I love the variations one finds in every room. I love how personalities are displayed in each room, ...and I love having a room of my own to play with. Don't think that because I love one thing I hate everything else. I present this room to you as enthusiastically as I honestly feel about it. I don't expect everyone to love it like I do, but maybe you can get some pleasure from my honest excitement, even if our tastes are different.

Now, ...last time, I left you with this picture:

I had just finished painting the room, and cleaning the floor and windows. And I had begun to hang things on the walls.

With the exception of the chair I am sitting in right now, every piece of furniture in my bedroom was made by me or someone in my family. I didn't start out with that goal, but I think it's pretty neat. Of course, that meant I had to wait awhile to furnish my room. One doesn't just walk into a store, pick out wood and paint, and say "I'd like that in my room next week."

Actually, two of my items of furniture came with me from my old bedroom; my hope chest (made by Dad) and my matching bookshelf (made by my brother Curtis), but the desk looked like this until just a few months ago:

I am very proud of my finished desk, but it took me almost a year to make, working whenever I had a free Saturday or Friday (which wasn't often!). I cut out all the pieces in the above picture by myself, which was a first. :) :) I'm rather scared of Dad's table saw. :)

My bed is part new, and part history. I mentioned in my last post that my headboard used to be Mom's, when she was a young girl. The headboard, however, was the only part of the bed that remained, so I added to it:
That bed took awhile to make, too. And it took a lot of help from my brother Curtis before I got it right. He basically made the bed; I just gave directions, and then painted it. :)

But then the room went from looking bright and empty, to looking kinda like this:

Um..., that is....rather messy. Are you sure you want to see? .....

I lived in a mess for several months. Ugh. Of course, it wasn't always this bad, but it took awhile for things to get better. I needed a desk to organize my writing supplies. But, ignoring the mess, doesn't my bed look nice? An "authentic imitation rope bed."

Here's the other corner. Not much better (usually all the mess was stacked in this corner, but here I was cleaning out space for my desk):
Now, as for linens....they were all homemade, too. I finished my quilt just before moving into this room. And it took only a month or so to finish the curtain for the window, a curtain for my closet door, a cushion for my hope chest, and throw pillows to match.

Then the room began to come together. Now it looks like this:

But that's all I'm going to show you until next time. That's when the fun will begin!!!!!! A photo tour of my finished product. :) :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

FINALLY! That post I promised: Designing My Bedroom

Do you realize it's been one year and 14 days since I got my new bedroom?

Do you also realize that means I've been promising a "decorating-the-bedroom post" for a little under one year?

Okay, so maybe you didn't remember that. Maybe I shouldn't have brought it up. It sounds so terrible.

Then again, most of you probably aren't surprised. You've been around long enough to know I'm a slow, get-around-to-it-when-I-get-a-chance type of blogger. That's why I blog for fun, not income. :)

But today...

...Well, today is my birthday, and I'm turning over a new leaf.

Not really. I just wanted to say that.

Actually, I've been planning this post for the past two months, and knew I wouldn't get around to it until May. So I didn't.

I could say all sorts of things about my birthday - tell you about the wonderful day I've had, the lovely gifts my family gave me, the laughs we had around the supper table, my thoughts about the future, my hopes for the years to come, my wistful and pleasant memories of the milestones behind me...

...But instead, I'm going to post pictures. Consider it a gift from me to you.

Now...for those of you who weren't around last year...last May I moved into a new bedroom. My older sister, Heather, who had been my roommate for my entire life, was married at the end of April, and our larger room went to our younger sisters. I took their smaller bedroom as my own.

It was the first time since I was a baby that I had my own room. And I've already posted at length on the huge adjustment it was for me to get used to sleeping alone, without late-night chats and giggles and I won't go through all that again. Instead, I'll tell you how much fun I had making this new bedroom my own domain - a room suited just for me.

I've always loved interior design, but never had a whole room to design from scratch. To say I was excited is an understatement. The fun I had in the design process helped me make it through those lonely nights the first few months.

Now, one reason this post is so long in coming is because the room itself was a slow process. In fact, it wasn't until ...hmmm...this March, maybe? that I actually completed everything I wanted to do with this room. And I liked it that way. I appreciated it so much more when I had to work, and save, and plan for each element in the design.

But back to the beginning.

My first project was to strip the room down to its bones. It had been awhile since anything like upkeep had been done to it, and there were lots of holes from nails that had been used to tack things on the wall. The floors needed to be shined, and the paint was faded. I knew that the "ideal room" in my mind was going to cost me some money, and I had been saving, but my birthday gift that year from Mom and Dad was a special type of paint for my room. I'm sensitive to most paint smells, but I enjoy painting and wanted to do the work myself. That special "eco-friendly" paint allowed me to do that. :) And I spent my money on materials for building furniture. (More on that later!)

So I began. The first day, I think, was all prep work. I scrubbed the walls. And took out dozens of nails and wall anchors. And filled holes with putty. And taped the edges of the wall.

Then I painted. It's a small bedroom, but it took a long time to paint. And I did two coats. I was starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into - I was so sick of painting by the end of day two! But I wanted it to look nice.

And it did.

One of my major goals for this room was to keep it from looking tiny and boxy. Since the space is so small (about 8'x 12') That was going to be a challenge. I chose a bright white for the walls, to keep the room looking open and spacious, but I wanted a touch of color. So I painted the ceiling blue, to evoke a sense of open, spacious sky above.

My family was skeptical. But they love it now. :)

I mixed the blue shade of paint myself, and I think it was just right; not so dark as to be oppressive overhead, but bright enough to show up. It's the sort of thing you don't notice right away when you enter the room, but something eventually causes you to look up, and there it is, a pleasant surprise.

But let me stop talking and show you some pictures.

First off, here is the bedroom I left. The picture is taken from the bedroom doorway, looking toward "my side" of the room. (Anybody who has shared a bedroom understands that term.) My sister took the double bed with her, and the hope chest and bookshelf are mine. (Made by my dad and brother.) The curtains I made myself, and they stayed here, too, but I ended up cutting the fabric for another use.

And this is my new bedroom, just after it was emptied. The headboard was my Mom's when she was little, and I ended up using it for my own bed in this room (more on that later). It was in there at this point because I was testing space for furniture arrangements. This picture was taken from the doorway.

Here, I am standing where the headboard is in the previous picture, facing my new closet. I re-vamped this entirely later, adding more rods and making it oh-so-pleasantly efficient. I love my closet! :) It's small, but it's mine, and every square inch is in use.

Here you can see one entire side of the room. It's small, but I love how necessary that makes every square inch.

Painting away. And feeling quite sick of it. :) But happy anyway. :)

Here are the finished results. First, look at what went above the closet doorway. The atmosphere I strove for in this room was peace, and this seemed to set the tone (Can you read it? It's Isiah 26:3. It's right where I will see it every morning when I open my eyes.):

Doesn't this look better than the previous closet picture? The paint is nice and bright! And the floor has been scrubbed. Can you see my new shelving? And notice my mirror? That helps the illusion of space, too.

By now I had started putting things on the wall; a shelf (to the right of the door) and a beautiful picture from a friend, which I think just takes the whole room a step up on the ladder of classiness. (I always underestimated artwork until I saw the effect of this picture on my bedroom.) The overhead light fixture was already in the room, and is one that I used in the bedroom I had when I was little.

So there you are. Enough for now. Later, I'll continue my bedroom tour with details on furniture building, sewing, bedding, curtains, etc., and bring you up to date on what the room looks like now.

In the meantime, tell me about the last time you re-did an area. Whether it was a whole room, like my project, or just reorganizing a shelf in your living room, if it brought you satisfaction and pleasure, it was a job worth doing. Doesn't it feel nice to have pleasant, orderly surroundings? God made us that way. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Today I was reading the book of Acts and was struck with the idea of boldness. The disciples were so bold for Christ - but only after receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. Stephen, too - and Paul, later on. All the early Christians had a fearlessness about them that seems unnatural.

And not just them. Others, through history, have had that unmistakable voltage about them; I'm reminded of Corrie TenBoom at the moment. I'm reading her book "Tramp for the Lord" - have you read it? I picked it up at our local library sale for $1.00! If you haven't read must.

TenBoom. Judson. Livingston. Bunyan (reading one of his books, too!). Carmichael. Spurgeon. Luther. ...

...That list could be as long as the grand canyon, and still incomplete. There's no end to the names that pop into my head when I consider the word "boldness." Think of Esther; "if I perish, I perish." I mean, how much more resignation and quiet determination can you have?

The stories of these people are so familiar to me that I don't always stop to ponder them. I mean, what would it be like to be in their place? It's all well and good to applaud Peter for standing in front of the high priest and saying "we must obey God rather than man," but what if I was standing in front of...say, the supreme court, with the possibility of a death sentence breathing down my neck if I offended the chief justice? What if I had just watched the execution of my dearest friend, ordered by this same court? Would I dare say all I was thinking? Would I even be able to make my dry mouth form any words?

Let's make it simpler. Suppose I was sitting in a room with a stranger, and we had struck up a conversation. Suppose I had the opportunity to talk about Christ. Suppose she said something about herself that I knew to be faulty - such as "I'm not a sinner," and I have the perfect open door to correct her. What then?


I sit there and shake in my flip-flops, to be quite honest. What if I come across as too harsh? What if I get carried away and say something that isn't true? What if this isn't the right timing? She older than me; surely she'll think, "what's this kid trying to do, acting like she knows more than me?" She'll stereo-type me into something I'm not. She'll be defensive. I'll say something I'll regret. I'll be judgemental. I'll do it in the flesh, not the Spirit. I'll make her think ill of all Christians because of me. I'll be at a loss for words.

Oh yes; this scenario is much more familiar. Too familiar.

Boldness? All of the sudden, it becomes an unreachable ideology. Yeah, I'd love to feel it, but I don't. I'm scared stiff. Of mankind. Of myself. Of failure. Of bringing shame upon the One I call Lord, because I don't perform well enough.

But scripture tells me that those who are filled with the Holy Spirit are bold.

I sat there and just admired boldness this morning. Oh, how lovely it would be, to be so confident in the outcome of a situation! Not really knowing how it will turn out, but confident just the same; sure in the God who arranges things according to His good pleasure. Convinced of every word I speak. Unafraid of the truth, and the results of publishing it. Calm in the face of the unknown.

Oh yes. That's definitely Spirit ground. No natural man-made abilities there. No wonder the thing is so beautiful; it's so out-of-this-world.

The only way I know of to have that boldness is to know the Source. And His Word. Being seeped in scripture, until it penetrates my very pores, and flavors everything I do and think.

"Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things."
(Joel 2:21)

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
(Phil. 1:6)

"Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it."
(1 Thess. 5:24)

"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."
(Col. 4:5-6)

"I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who are thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens..."
(Isiah 51:7&12-13a)

Enough with insecurities. Enough with worry about myself and the way I'll appear to mankind - or to God. It isn't about me performing for Him. It's about Him performing through me. There really is a Spirit that works in us. ...And through us.

I should be careful with my words. I should think before I speak. I should place a guard before my lips. But, sometimes, the Spirit prompts me to say something that either doesn't make sense to me, or I'm afraid to say it...and I analyze too hard. I reason my way out of saying it. I keep my mouth shut. That isn't right, either. There is a time to speak, just as there is a time to be silent.

Lord, grant me wisdom!