Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weeds next door

This morning I dressed in my oldest, messiest clothes, plunked my wide-brimmed hat on my head, and went out into the garden at about 8:45. It had been long enough since I'd been out there. It was time to let the plants know I hadn't forgotten them.

My mission: weeding. Rain has been pouring down nearly every night for over a week, and the weeds have really taken off. Some - many - were as high as mid-calf. Not in the beds, of course, but in the paths between beds. There the soil is harder, and the weeds less-noticed... until they get out of control, like they were this morning.

I wore through one finger of my left-hand glove, muddied my clothes up to my knees, ground dirt into my arms until I looked like I had a sudden tan, and landed hard on my rear more than once when a stubborn weed gave way suddenly.

I pulled them up by the roots; the small young sprouts, the slender, easily-removed shoots of grass, the four-leaved weeds that have a red tint, the spinach-like weeds with the stubborn root system, the wild violet leaves that have no flowers, and the short maple saplings, slender like grass. I pulled dandelions, too, but most of the time the root stayed in the ground. Those things are strong.

I worked until 11:00, so I had lots of time to think. I asked myself, why am I pulling weeds from the path? What does it matter? I reminded myself that weeds that went to seed near the beds would surely end up broadcasting seeds into the beds, causing dozens of miniature versions of themselves to spring up among our precious crops.

That's a lot like life, I thought. Who would want bad seeds nearby? If a bar opened next door, you would want to close it down. But what about more subtil influences? What are things that I don't count as "in" my life, but are near enough to influence me? Am I taking active control of my climate?

Someday I hope to be a parent. Then I'll really have my job cut out for me, making sure the influences surrounding our home are wholesome and godly.

When I was finished in the garden, I had a pile of weeds that looked like a small green haystack - roughly 2.5' in diameter, and 2' high.

And I had a lot of thinking stored away in my head.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Bedroom Redecorated

Hello! Welcome to my bedroom! I'm thrilled to finally be able to show you around.

If you missed my previous posts describing the process that led to my owning a new bedroom, and pictures of the pre-decorating phase, visit here for post #1, and here for post #2.

(To summarize, this is the first time I've had my own space to decorate as I please, and I did it little by little over the course of the past year. Now I feel like it's "arrived," and I want to share the finished product with you.)

So come on in!
(Regular readers, be warned; this post contains a record amount of pictures, and will likely throw you into shock over that fact. :) :)

Here's the photo I left you with last time - the view from the doorway:
(I realize these are rather small. Please forgive me - they load faster, and I'm short on patience when it comes to uploading things.)
I made the quilt for the bed, finishing it just days before I moved into my new bedroom. The headboard belonged to my mom when she was a little girl, but it was dark brown and the rest of the bed frame was non-existent. My brother Curtis built the new bed frame according to my directions, Dad drilled holes for the rope, and I painted the whole thing.
The bookshelf was made by Curtis several years ago, especially for me, and it matches my hope chest.

My closet is at the foot of my bed. I can select my outfit in the morning in comfort! :) (I don't really do it that way. I have to touch clothes when I'm picking them. :) There's a verse painted above the closet doorway. (Isaiah 26:3) There was no door for the closet, so I sewed a curtain, and I like it better anyway. The fabric is home decor weight, and is pale blue, white, and brown stripes.

I store my instruments in their cases at the foot of my bed, too. And don't you like my two big windows? I chose a sheer swag rather than a full curtain, to let in as much light as possible. I had the perfect fabric - all I had to do was hem it.

Here's a better look at my bookshelf:

I love my touch-lamp; it's one of the more recent additions to my room.

Now, here's my favorite corner:
I custom-designed this desk to suit my needs. It fits perfectly in that corner, and the two matching shelves hold my "pretties" and some old books. This is where I'm sitting right now, and where I sit to do my writing and computer work. I built the desk and shelves myself - with occasional help from Dad, and I'm quite pleased with it. The top of the desk and shelves is coated with a varnish to make them glassy-smooth. :) I love the look of stained wood, but I chose to paint part of the structure white so it took up less visual space.

Here's better view of the shelves. I love my old books!

And here's the top of my desk. I love my jars with paint brushes and pens and pencils. And see my miniature oil lamp? It's a pencil sharpener! :) That stack of books it's sitting on has continued to grow; it's where I keep my writing books (dictionary, thesaurus, writing inspiration, etc.). At this moment it's 10 books and about 12" high.
Don't you love my drawer handles? Too bad you can't see them up close. They're a pretty iron weave design.

And here's the wall to the right of the desk:
Dad made my shelf, with my name carved in it, and I use the top to display pictures of me with friends. The bouquet of flowers is from my sister's wedding.

Here's my hope chest. I love it. Daddy made it for me several years ago, and it's full of linens and kitchen items. I sewed the cushion cover and pillow cases when I moved into this bedroom.
The pink tote on the floor by my hope chest is my portable craft room. I have a sewing area in the basement, but I always have a little project or two (or three or four....) that winds up in my room. This tote helps contain everything, and saves me from running downstairs every time I need a pair of scissors. I also like that it's next to the computer, so I can pick up stuff to work on it any time my hands are free while my eyes are busy.

Aaaand this is what I see when leaving my room. I built the peg rail (well, teased Curtis into doing it, really) and painted it the same blue as my ceiling. It's nice to have a place for purses and hats, but I really need more that that, because those pegs are always overflowing! My full-length mirror makes the room seem larger, and it's nice to see what I look like when I'm heading out the door to face the world. The vintage luggage on the floor by the mirror is my "compact vanity," and holds all my hair items.
So there you have it! I love my little paradise. It's compact, and everything has a purpose and use. Practically speaking, I've put out comparatively little money for what I got in return:

- The low-odor paint for my walls, ceiling, and bed was my birthday gift (by request) from my parents last year.

- The wood for my bed and desk were probably my most expensive purchases, and I bought pieces a few at a time over the past months.

- The lamp was a gift from my mom (thank you!) to help me with my room.

- I bought the fabric for my quilt long before I started working on my room, so it was already taken care of. I had to buy fabric for the closet curtain, but had leftovers for two matching pillows for my hope chest, and leftover fabric from the quilt made one more.

- I didn't have to buy any of the foam for the hope chest cushion and pillows; the foam was from one of those "pads" that goes on top a mattress (from the double bed I used to share with my sister), and the pillow forms were "recycled" from other sources.

- The wood for the peg rail was scrap wood from Dad's projects over the years.

- I already had my bookshelf and hope chest.

- Someone had given me a bag of fabric, which is where my curtain fabric came from.

So, most of what was "spent" on this room was effort and time, not money. I'm pleased with how it turned out. I think it has a country, colonial feel, but not strictly so. It's "me," and I'm pleased to say that my family seems to enjoy hanging out in my bedroom.

What do you think? What are some decorating tips you use in making your bedroom a place of peace and comfort? And how do you incorporate workstations into your room without letting them take over?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

101 Reasons to Never Visit the Library in the Evenings on a Wednesday

#1 - Books gotten from the library are meant to be read.

#2 - Everyone knows that staying up late (waaaaay too late) is the best way to get books completed when you have a busy schedule.

#3 - Everyone also knows that sleeping in on a weekday is NOT the best way to get life completed. don't sleep in.

#4 - Ambers - Ahem, I mean people - who don't get enough sleep do silly things.

#5 - They feel a rediculous temptation to close their eyes while driving.

#6 - They call lightning bugs "light bulbs."

#7 - They mis-type important emails.

#8 - They type the wrong password for their google account while trying to get on their blog.

#9 - They sit at computer screens and try to remember what the other reasons were.

Edited to Add:

#10 - Chocolate becomes much too high of a temptation.

#11 - You look at people standing in front of you and look right though them.

#12 - Everything you right lookes hilike this be-unlesds you retype it , wheich means whceveything takes much longer to do. . (I did not type anyofe this like thins on puropose, I just left it whthe way it was...) ..Whcich is a very good represntation fo the way my braing is thinking right now. )

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I've seen it done before.

Many times.

The girl starts a blog in her mid-to-late teen years. She blogs avidly, on every topic that catches her fancy. She posts often. She posts energetically.

Then life starts to get busier. For awhile, she posts even more often, trying to explain to the world how revolutionary this new concept of busy is, and how the "busy" that she used to complain about really was sunshiny childhood, and not true business at all.

Finally, when the posts have dwindle into the rarity of a worm in a chicken pen, she announces to her few remaining loyal readers, "I've had enough. It's plain to see that I can't upkeep a blog and live at the same time - not in this season of life, anyway. It's not fair to my readers. I am shutting down my blog for now. I'll return in a later season of life; when I have more time. (Whenever that that mysterious and golden time of life is.)"

About that point, I feel like plunging my hands through the computer screen, grabbing the said blogger by the throat, and screaming, "What are you thinking?!?! You can't leave now! I was just starting to like you! You've become a friend - how can you walk out on me? How can you upset my routine this way? I demand that you continue to blog!"

Yes. Many times. Many blogging friends have disappeared...sadly. I miss them.

That being said...

I'm determined that I won't put any remaining readers of this floundering blog through that kind of wistful sadness. I'm stubbornly refusing to admit that I really don't have time to blog. Because you know what? I bet you "really don't have time" to read my blog. But you do. And I love it. We encourage each other.

We're gonna make it through this crazy time of life, and we're going to make it through together - even if we talk less often. I'm not going anywhere, Lord willing.

Not to imply that anyone who quits blogging - or reading - is somehow less together or somehow less time efficient. Even though I get mad at them, in my heart I take my hat off to the ladies who know when to evaluate their priorities and call it quits for anything that is not necessary to reach the goal. They're an amazing breed. I applaud them. And if you have to do it, by all means do it. Even if it means I lose a reader.

Who knows - someday I may reach the point where God tells me, "that blog of yours is not profitable to you anymore. Set it aside and pursue a new path." I hope that if that time comes, I can obey with as much stubbornness as I'm using right now in facing my time shortages.

But, for now, with all my quirks and oddities, I'm sticking with ya.

So I hope you're set for a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Highly Recommended

Hey, folks!

For those of you who get tired waiting for me to pop around and write my next blog post, I'd like to recommend a fun cooking/budgeting blog for you to read in the meantime: Once a Month Shopping for Couples.

Don't let the title fool you; you don't have to be married to read it. If you like to cook, you'll enjoy this blog. Nice pictures, yummy treats, witty writing, and a blog author who has a wonderful personality.

Did I mention she's related to me?

Go on over and check out my sister's blog. Heather will be delighted to see you; she's always been good at hospitality.

P.S. (One disclaimer; though I LOVE devouring her treats, she's never been known to skimp on the sugar. :) :) :) But, hey, we all need a little sweetness in our lives!)