Archive for ‘Inspire Me!’

December 6, 2012

Christmas 2012: Gate to Inspiration

In the springtime, we tore out our fenced vegetable garden to expand and visually tidy up the backyard.  The garden was moved to more manageable, newly-built raised beds on the street side of the property.  Having become utterly inamoured with the rustic gate with its chipped paint and rusty metal, I didn’t want to part with it.  My plan was to utilize it as a charming front gate.  In my imagination, it was an adorable solution.  In reality, it didn’t work.

Inspired by Christmas decor from reclaimed lumber on Etsy and Pinterest, I pulled out my garden scraps (somehow I managed to salvage despite the opposition).  My former garden gifted me with free wood for my projects, and the humble  garden gate has been transformed into my favorite decoration this Christmas.

Image

With a few nails and a string of white lights, the old gate is now center stage.  It gives me such joy and it is a fitting metaphor for this season of life.  Like my gate, this year has left me questioning and displaced…

Imagine the poor little gate who had faithfully guarded the garden opening day and night, season after season.  He had a purpose and a function.  Sometimes when bunnies came to visit, he was appreciated, but often he wasn’t noticed at all.  He didn’t mind – in his heart, he knew his place.  One day, he was roughly torn out and the entire fence dismantled.  Thrown into a pile of lumber, he wondered if he what would become of him.  How difficult it was just to lay there and not serve a purpose.  Would he ever have purpose again?  If he didn’t have purpose, did he still have value?  He looked at his peeling paint worn by time spent guarding his post – would his contribution to the garden be remembered?  No longer connected to the fence, he felt very alone.

The gate heard rumors about being moved and disagreements over his value.  “The old thing should just go to the dump.”  “But, I think it’s beautiful – look at the pretty paint colors.”  “It’s a peeling piece of junk.”  “It’s a work of art.”  Some how the garden gate managed to avoid the dreaded dump, but still he laid in a heap on the lumber pile.  Sometimes, the adventurous boys would lived in the yard would pull him out as part of their play.  During a temporary post as a soccer goal or a play fort, he cried to himself, “I was created to be a garden gate – will I ever serve a noble purpose again.”

The long, laziness of summer gave way to short and crisp autumn days.  The gate felt ugly and broken.  He finally gave up and awaited the inevitable white burial of his hopes and dreams.  As his last hope dimmed in the low winter light, a young boy dragged him from the pile and brought him inside the house to his mother.  The gate had never been inside nor even dreamed it was a place he should be or could be.  A little embarrassed by the praises of the mother, the humble gate was cleaned and sanded.  Around his new nails a string of white lights was wrapped in the shape of a star.  When he was lit, the garden gate didn’t even recognize himself – he was transformed!

Placed on a shelf in the living room, the simple gate was given a new purpose – to shine.  No longer part of a useful garden, he now was a cherished piece of art lighting up the entire room.  The gate served to remind those inside the little house of an ancient star that guided hearts to a more Ancient Light whose powerful illumination changed history and transforms lives today.  What joy filled his heart as he stood tall in his new post!  In his wildest hopes and dreams, he never would have thought, a simple and utilitarian garden garden, would ever be given such an honor position.

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined. Matthew 4:16

May this inspire you to see the old in a new light, to bring the forgotten and neglected center stage, and to find beauty among the broken.  Whether it’s old boards or old dreams or a calling on hold, I pray the transforming beauty of God’s love and the JOY of the Christmas season will inspire you and change you forever.

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of JOY. (my emphasis) Psalm 65:8

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May 17, 2011

Spot fabric and a birthday

I’m feeling very nostalgic today – my Drake is 16 today! I’m pondering the precious memories of holding Drake & sitting for hours reading his little board books over and over and over and…  When he started speaking, he did so in sentences – “Read this.”  My precocious 9 month old would then grab his little book in his chunky little hands and put his little arms up.  I’d pick him up, plop him in my lap, snuggle close and begin.  Good Night Moon…  Spot… Goodnight Gorilla…  Hungry Caterpillar…  Winnie the Pooh...

I cherished those moments & this fabulous Spot fabric makes my heart full – just look at this monkey full of mischief and cuteness…  I’m not usually into commercialized fabrics, but this Spot fabric won my heart.

Almost too cute to cut into, but I’m excited to transform these fabrics into some more handmade cuteness:)

Happy Birthday to an amazing, talented, kind, wise, smart and incredibly fun son!!  I love you so much!

The Lord your God is with you.
   He is a hero who saves you.
      He happily rejoices over you,
         renews you with his love,
            and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.

Zephaniah 3:17

March 14, 2011

Pi Day!

Here is some Pi Day inspiration…

Just like my pie plate given to me by my Nana who appreciates my sense of humor:)…

Pi inspiration…

Earrings from Etsy

More Etsy

Both from this Etsy seller….

Happy Pi Day to You!

They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. Psalm 89:18

*Fun banner fonts from kevinandamanda.com

March 3, 2011

Procrastination and Ispirazione di Carta

I’ve been inspired by exceptionally gorgeous paper from Florence, Italy. I received these beauties as a birthday gift several years ago, but haven’t had the moxie or motivation to cut into them. Procrastinating my correspondences (particularly thank you notes – yikes!) has forced me to seek inspiration and I didn’t have to look very far. Deep in the dark recesses of my closet, I discovered my pretty papers and found the incentive to get some long overdo letters finally written – rejoice!

How do you find the inspiration to do those tasks you’d rather procrastinate?

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 2 John 1:12

February 17, 2011

Cake Stand

After so many close calls, my cake stand finally bit the dust today. Even yesterday, my tulip loving cats had attempted  to pull flowers out of the vase I’d placed on the stand.  Water and flowers and vase scattered, but the stand solidly and stoically stood firm.  Not today….  In my rush to get dishes put away and start lunch and finish school and get hockey jerseys dried (you get the picture), I dropped a jar of mayo from the cupboard and without even looking I knew my stand had met it’s demise.

The stand was a simple, clear glass, domed piece given to me by a dear friend as a wedding present. Since it also converted into a trifle bowl, it was incredibly useful and functional. I appreciate pieces like that! It proudly displayed and served many birthday cakes, freshly baked cookies, trifles, punch, scones and more.

“Thank you, dear cake stand. You served our family for well for many years (and thank you, Lisa, for the very considerate and lasting gift!)…”

Currently looking for some cake stand inspiration…

So pretty from Home Decorators, and the deep dome would probably even hide my beautiful Valentine tulips from my evil kitties…

Adore the simple and unique lines on this Michelangelo Masterpiece from Macy’s even though it lacks multifunction…

A grouping of smaller stands from Pottery Barn…. hmmmmm….

A little more ornate from Ebay….

Tried and true Anchor Hocking Cake Stand…  This is the one! It’s all versatility and function of my former stand, but with an even sleeker design – love!

And, the grand finale and a punch of color – how about this red number!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:111a

February 8, 2011

Fabric Inspiration

Isn’t this soooo adorable!!  Just bursting to become something sweet for a new wee babe… I’m inspired!

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

January 20, 2011

Inspiration: Red Gingham

Be very wary – I’ve some red gingham and I’m determined to use every scrap of it.  Currently, I’ve an infatuation with all gingham in it’s glorious array of sizes and colors, but I absolutely drool over red gingham.  Perhaps it the season of transitioning from the Christmas to Valentines, but whatever it is, I’m inspired!  I’m dreaming of a white and black kitchen with some pretty punches of red gingham.  For now, I’ll settle for sewing gingham curtains and kitchen do-dads.

Maybe some of these gingham lovelies will inspire you as well…

Ingenious and cute doorstop from Bouf.com

Isn’t this darling from Etsy reminiscent of a 50’s diner?

Oh, my! These snappy Betsy Johnson numbers will make doing dishes simply dreamy…

Ruffled, red gingham from Country Curtains to frame my world.

Order and a healthy dose of inspiration for my kitchen shelves from this cozy Etsy shop.

Inspiration overload! – this teapot cosy from Not on the High Street has me running for my sewing stash.

From the French Pantry on Etsy, to my pantry. My homemade raspberry jam will be tasting even sweeter.

And the super special, secret ingredient to all home-cooking – made with LOVE – also found on Pouf.com

Dreaming of a white and black kitchen with pretty punches of red gingham (image from BHG)…

Those who live at the ends of the earthstand in awe of your wonders.From where the sun rises to where it sets,you inspire shouts of joy. Psalm 65:8

April 22, 2010

My New Cookbook!

As a hopeless bookworm, there’s an extra special spot reserved in my heart for cookbooks. As a teeny toddler, I could often be found sitting cross-legged on the floor pouring over the pages of the Betty Crocker’s Cookie CookbookConsequently, I learned to bake quite young because I had a mother who was patient enough to give me free rein. I was baking cookies and cakes by age 10. During my teen years and into my twenties, I found baking a great stress reliever. On the other hand, I had a personal aversion to basic cooking. Since I’d every intention of being a full-time career woman and never a mere housewife, what was the point? Weren’t there plenty of good restaurants?

I was certainly naive (complete understatement here!). Fortunately, when I was a young mother, Martha Stewart came on the scene. Although we never met, she was my mentor. Watching her show and reading her magazines, I learned a tremendous amount about cooking and homemaking. She elevated it to an art-form rather than a task. She taught and inspired me. I discovered I could cook just about anything I wanted, and I rediscovered cookbooks.

All this to say, I have a new cookbook in my life! My sister and brother-in-law, knowing my fondness for cookbooks, gave me the inspirational and pretty, Organic & Chic Cookbook (thank you, thank you!!). Written by the like-minded, Sarah Magid, this book is a visual treat featuring unique recipes, great tips, and a feast for the eyes.

Not wanting to feed her children junk-food sweets made in large factories, Sarah developed her own recipes reminiscent of store bought favorites. Her background as a top accessories designer shines through with each whimsical and artistic, edible masterpiece. As a true artist, she understands form follows function. Her recipes begin with quality, organic ingredients with a healthy dose of love.

This book is simply brilliant – a must read from cover to cover! I’m looking forward to duplicating many of these wonders!

“And from fine wheat flour, without yeast, make bread, and cakes mixed with oil, and wafers spread with oil.” Exodus 29:2

April 19, 2010

The Power of a Simple Apron

When I get blue and don’t want to budge, I instinctively search for a dose of inspiration (some days, a double dose). Often, I’m inspired by beautiful imagery such a lovely table setting or brilliantly designed floral arrangement. Other days, a powerful quotation will spark a fire in me. Housework, especially laundry – my personal nemesis, is an unending cycle of daily tasks that can bring down even the most dedicated, disciplined and visionary of mothers.

I’ve a secret weapon. Some people wear power ties or power shoes, my self-inspiring garb is a little less glamourous – it’s a power apron. Sure, I’ve been guilty of mocking pictures of mums in fancy apron and pumps, but now I’m in awe of those wise women who went before me. There’s power in a simple apron! When I tie those proverbial strings, my whole persona changes. I become “Mother” in the dearest sense, and I’m ready for work. I’m suddenly the heart of my home wiping noses, baking cookies, kneading dough, folding laundry, and….

My apron inspires me. It lightens my load. Like the glorious and faithful rainbow, we all need something external, tangible and pretty to serve as a remembrance. My apron reminds me of all the quotes I collected, verses memorized, the Martha Stewart magazines devoured, the countless books and articles absorbed, and the cookbooks read cover to cover in an effort to become a better mother, wife and homemaker. My little apron does all that and more (on a practical note, it even protects my clothes from inevitable doughy clumps). It truly is a power apron!

For more super cute aprons, check out:

www.squidoo.com/jessiesteeleaprons

www.flirtyaprons.comLove the cupcakes!

Fabulous color combination! Are you inspired, yet?

“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love…” 1 Thessalonians 1:3