Monthly Archives: September 2011

.:make do:. old windows

We made it!  Thanks for venturing with me.  This is the fourth (and final, for now) adventure in trimming your home with what you already have lying around.

.: make do :.
part four

We replaced 36 windows in this house.  ThiRty-SiX!  You may have noticed I have a hard time throwing anything away…especially old windows.  We gave some away, kept some for other projects (some garden box greenhouses), made a wipe board in our kitchen, 

and hopefully one of these in our near future backyard…
Pinned Image

But for now, we did this…

We’ll fill that bottom right picture with something, as soon as I figure out what.  I’m thinking a collage of faces from places that grip our heart {Brazil, Cambodia, PNG, etc}.  So far, a print from Nikki McClure, some family pics taken by the lovely Kari McG and Micah 6.8 is perfect.  
You see, the thing I like most about this is that it reminds me that mama bird doesn’t build her nest to blog about it…but to fill her nest with loved ones.  To make a comfortable place for *all* to gather.  It’s so not about the stuff.  That will all pass away some day.  Yes, we press on to finish this house so it doesn’t remain on our to-do list for the next 10 years as something we should be doing…



I look back on my week and all the beautiful faces that have gathered in our home…the neighbor boy who runs to our house after school and waits on our porch to be welcomed in for a snack and play as long as I will let him…those with whom we have zumba-ed…sat on basement floors chatting while kiddos played…eaten quesadillas or drank coffee sharing struggles and joys and life…met to pray together in the midnight hours at starbucks…field-tripped to the planetarium…
This is what matters. 
The projects have been fun.  The nesting is rewarding.  
But, lives are what lasts.
This is where we want to invest.  

It was beautiful. Gobi desert in Mongolia, a little girl and a camel laughing at us: for us: with us. 

Ok, this pretty much makes my day.  It may be the best thing I’ve posted all week – I just can’t stop staring at it, and laughing 🙂


Happy weekend-ing!

Invest well, friends.


He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice,
to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God.
micah 6.8
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.:make do:. pillows

I hope you’re enjoying our little adventures-in-trimming-your-home-with-what-you-have-lying-around.  These projects have been done for awhile (I did most of them in the evenings while Andy was in Mexico.)  I’m just now getting around to sharing them with you.  Aaaaaaand, that was the best opener I could come up with at 9.40 on a Tuesday night.  I tell ya, this posting everyday thing is harder than I thought!  
.: make do :.
part three
I’m 33, and have never had throw pillows on my bed.  I’ve always thought they looked nice.  I just never could bring myself to buy them.  
You guessed it – I finally made some!  
Our king size pillows were needing replaced.  
So I bring you…
how to make 2 throw pillows out of 1 king-size pillow
{I don’t read many patterns, so pardon my wording.  I added pics, so hopefully it makes sense.}
1.  Fold pillow in half {when it stays, you know it’s time to buy a new pillow, and turn your old one into throw pillows}

2.  Cut straight through: pillow case, stuffing and all.  

3.  Turn cut edge inside and pin.  {Notice the handsome trio in the background rather than the drool marks on the pillow.}

4.  Sew seam shut.

5.  You made yourself a throw pillow!  Now is the fun part of making it pretty.  Keep looking at what’s lying around…

Do you see it?  Curtains that need shortened = Fabric for throw pillows!!

{I take no credit for the 2 end pillows, other than finding them at pier 1 for $7 and buying them with a gift card – many thanks, H’s!}  
Our very first throw pillows – I feel so grown up!!!  
Now if only it would help me make the bed more 🙂

I write these posts not wanting anyone’s heart to well up with anything other than contentment for what we already have. Realizing stuff can never satisfy a soul. Because somewhere in there…my little sewing buddy, sitting on my lap, turns his head around, looks back at me and says “Momma, you’re my best fwiend.” And, I hear loud and clear 

The best things in life aren’t things.

.:make do:. bathmat

Thanks for all your fun comments!  I agree – she would look lovely in kelly green.  Now to research how to paint wood…  I know it may sound like we’ve lost our mind, painting perfectly fine wood.  But I kind of like the shabby-chic, chipped-paint look in there.  (And you can certainly say “I told you so” in a few years if I’m stripping off the paint 🙂

.: make do :.
— part two 

We needed a bath mat upstairs. I tried to dye a dingy white one we’ve had for 6 years, but I shoulda bought black Rit-Dye rather than yellow.  I was hoping for light yellow.  Instead, it turned out looking like someone skinned Big Bird and made a rug out of him (my husband’s exact words 🙂  Say hello to Big Bird-mat before he moved in with his good buddy Oscar the Grouch (a.k.a. the trash can). 

Back to the drawing board…
I found a white towel I had on hand to use for the backing of some homemade bibs and a yard of material I had lying around.  
Cut the towel and material the same size.  {Which is always better to do in the sun.}  High-fived the little buddy across from me after every piece was cut (his idea 🙂 

Sewed the fabric to the towel.  {I just did a zig zag because it wouldn’t be seen.}  Then, I sewed on a piece of trim….with the help of my little “fwiend.”

Voilà.  Bath mat!

Something that was overlooked for years is now so special.  After helping with the making of his bath mat, Jude mentions it every time he wipes his freshly-bathed feeties on it.  And another trip to the store to pick up another *thing* is successfully avoided.



I write these posts not wanting anyone’s heart to well up with anything other than contentment for what we already have. Realizing stuff can never satisfy a soul. Because somewhere in there…my little sewing buddy, sitting on my lap, turns his head around, looks back at me and says “Momma, you’re my best fwiend.” And, I hear loud and clear

The best things in life aren’t things.

.:make do:. rocking chair

I can’t believe we have lived in this house 2 months already!  I started to write a list of how we have moved in and tried to make do with what we already have.  I went around and snapped some shots, and it turned into a week’s worth of posts.  These may be brief; or rather, as long as Davey and Goliath can distract wee-one.  But hopefully they will help you see the hidden treasures in what you already have.  
And now…adventures in trimming our home with what is lying around.  
(Or, as Andy suggested…home ec-extravaganza!)

.:make do:.
—–part one—-

Meet the 8 year old rocking chair that on many a night, we rocked our babes to sleep.  She looks tired, worn out, doesn’t she?  She has “Goodnight Moon” memorized, along with any Over the Rhine song, and has probably heard a few botched renditions of old hymns in her day sung by a weary mama.  
If this chair could speak…  But it can’t, so it was headed to Goodwill.  
Until a few weeks ago when Jack was headed down a steep slope on his scooter and took a giant spill.  We made it home, and he crawled onto my lap in the rocking chair.  The other two were gathered around, making sure he was okay.  Then, it turned into fighting over who would get rocked next.  It may never happen again, but I couldn’t give up so soon.  

So, I bought fabric 🙂

It was much easier than I ever would have guessed, or I would have done this years ago!  
1. Place the old cushions over your new fabric.  Fold fabric in 2, make sure the inside is facing up.  
2. Trace around the cushion 2 times – an inner line for where the stitching should be, an outer line 1 inch from the 1st trace for where the cutting should be.  
3.  Cut on the 2nd line.  At this point, I pinned the 2 pieces of fabric together.  
4.  With right sides together, sew on the 1st trace line just around the top of the cushion.  (Leaving the back open to insert the cushion.)  
5.  Turn inside out and place over the cushion.  It should fit snug, or you may need to take it in some more.
6.  Fold the cut edges inside and sew the last seam shut.
7.  Repeat with the 2nd cushion.


She may get a paint job as well…as soon as I can decide between bright orange, kelly green, or dark brown.  Or, as soon as a whole lot of other things happen…  


I write these posts not wanting anyone’s heart to well up with anything other than contentment for what we already have.  Realizing stuff can never satisfy a soul.  Because somewhere in there…my little sewing buddy, sitting on my lap, turns his head around, looks back at me and says “Momma, you’re my best fwiend.”  And, I hear loud and clear 
The best things in life aren’t things.

day of rest

I’m not referring to the law-locked-traditions of what it means to keep a day holy.  But our modern-day-Sabbath… A day that is far too often tacked on to the end of the week as fitting everything in before another week creeps up on me.  A day that {for us} can become the busy-est of them all.  

So, tonight I plan.  lentil soup on the stove.  clothes laid out.  dishes washed.  Prepare for a day of gathering.  worship.  rest.  I’m not always this intentional about it, and I don’t know that I always can be.  But I want to learn to live quieter in this world.  More simple.  Less distracted.  Unplugged.

And what better day to practice His presence than a day of rest?  Not that much is restful about having 3 boys, but that my focus is different.  
My goal is slow.

To still my heart.  To know that He is God.  To remember that I am not.  
So, we light a candle.  Asking the Light of the world who pierces through the darkness to shine bright in our lives.  To reflect on worshiping Him alone.  None other.  But our Shepherd, the Guardian of our souls.
All the while doing so, aware that little eyes are watching, little minds are shaping.  How I want for them to know where rest comes from.  That they would learn alongside us to kindle the flame of peace in our hearts.  
And where else can we find that than in the quiet?

Be still and know that I am God.
psalm 46.10

real life

I have so much to share with you!  Coming soon …the cheese bread recipe that will change your life …making do (trimming our home with what we already have lying around) …and handmade gifts (great idea, jules!)

But, it’s hard to sit down and write about cheese bread right now.  While this weekend had moments of laughter and hugs, candlelight and romance, boys crawling into my lap just to cuddle, seeing prayers answered and desires of my heart changed…it’s real life.  And in real life, there’s also the moments where your heart sinks when you realize your boy has expired at the park and the long stares and disapproving looks of “what is wrong with him” have started, panic as you discover water pouring into your boys room through the ceiling from the attic, weariness of continuing to have to decide whether to spend “free time” building into this house or our family, uncertainty crunching numbers and wondering how it will all work out (breaking out the envelopes, Dave Ramsey!)
I found myself sighing long, and sighing hard.  I found myself praying little more than “I need Thee.”  Not because there is a huge mountain we must climb.  But because sometimes the journey just gets long, tiring, with endless unknowns.   
The words that kept coming back to me were so simple.  So reassuring.  So motivating. 
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
So good, I wrote it down on our window.  And below it, added “I have everything I need…and so much more!”  I need to be reminded of this.  To linger in awe that the Creator of the universe, the Author of life knows, He hears, it matters to Him, and He will lead us!  Whatever you are facing, you can know He cares!  He is honored in our coming.  He is pleased in our asking.  How blessed are we when the answer we walk away with is that He is our Shepherd.  And, that is more than enough!  

Through the years, we’ve grown to say “the hard times make the good ones all the sweeter.”  These here are some of the sweetest of moments.
“Goodnight Moon” is a book we have read so many nights to our babies we have it memorized, and now our “baby” is reading it to us!  So surreal.

1st grade field trip to the apple orchard.  My highlights of the day were certainly when Jack asked me to sit by him on the bus, when he picked me for Red Rover, and just being a part of my boy’s day.  I’m sure it will be all too soon that I won’t be welcome, let alone invited to join along.  So, I’m taking advantage of the time while I can! 



Date Night at Home: a candle, bottle of Lambrusco, appetizer (I recommend the baked jaleps filled with goat (or cream) cheese, topped with prosciutto), and some Carla Bruni playing softly in the background.

The boys asked me to start a cooking school with them.  Ummm…YES!  

Our first lesson was 2 ingredient homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker.   

I followed this recipe, which I will so be using many more times!  This time, I crushed up some GF oreos to make a gluten-free cookies -n- cream. Oh baby, it’s been awhile…



So, there you have the hard mixed with the good, joy intermingled with tears, hope in the midst of uncertainty, and this is our life.  

Our craZy, fun, precious, real life.

falling slowly

they may be 75 years apart, but they’re kindred spirits to the core

 well hello there, mountain man!
 nothing says “welcome home” quite like a trip to urgent care…
someone cannot wait until he can travel with his dad.
his heart beats for adventure.

 my heart can barely contain all the love

 the race for 10 dollars.  
miles was so bummed he didn’t win – he said “i ran for my life!”

There we were, drinking in every last drop of warmth and sun, when it stopped me in my tracks.  A teeny-tiny yellow leaf, fallen to the ground.  It was a bit of a stand-off, if you will.  The leaf blaring “Fall is here!”  Me crying out “Not so soon!”  Just the other 84-degree day we were on a bike-ride, and I said it again: “I would never get sick of this weather.”  Then the thought came Would I appreciate it as much if we didn’t know the harsh cold?  Would we have spent every possible minute of the last 5 months outside if we didn’t know what’s coming?  We are the ones who choose to live here.  If the weather was that important to me, we’d move somewhere hot and humid.  Plus, there’s always a Florida trip to look forward to (in case the man who sleeps in the same bed as me would like to plan one…wink wink 😉

Ok, you win.  Welcome fall!  With all of your show-stopping, brilliant beauty, and some of our favorite things: our yearly Fried-Yer apple orchard trip, apple cider, acorn-hunting, soccer games, pumpkin-spice lattes, candlelight, lentil soup, leaf-gazing, crayon-leaf rubbings, leaf-raking (and more excitedly, leaf-jumping!), crisp morning walks, baking, cinnamon, scarves (can’t wait to pull yours out, Nadia!), thanksgiving, our first fireplace!, knitting, slippers, making Christmas gifts, hot tea, and gathering with people we love.
And when summer comes back around…
We’ll live it up ‘cuz nothing lasts forever, not even cold November rain.

What are your favorite fall things?