Archive for March, 2011

A Time to Retreat

March 8, 2011

” Lent is a time to retreat with Our Father. To confess to Him that we have wandered so far from home and that we have become far too comfortable in the pleasures of this life. To confess to Him how utterly dependent we have become on everything, but Him. And he will gladly receive us back with open arms: not because we demonstrate to Him our growing discipline and holiness, but for the sake of Christ and him alone.”

                                                          ~ Edie @ Life{in}Grace

Growing up, Lent always meant giving up certain indulgences be it candy, cookies or soda; but over time I began to understand what Lent was really all about: prayer, reflection and repentance. Edie’s post on the deeper meaning of Lent really struck a chord with me and has finally given words to the feelings I experience during this season leading up to the Easter celebration.

“Lent begins with this realization. That we are a people in exile. That we are wandering far from our true home.

And thus the beginning of repentance isn’t merely the terror that one finds in wandering in a strange land; the beginning of repentance is homesickness.

Lent teaches us to fess up to how often we settle down in the land of our exile as though it were our true home; attempting to still the yearning the Spirit has created by throwing it at physical or psychological pleasure, and how it never works.”

                                                       ~ Pastor Will Weedon

Year after year, I find myself yearning for a closeness with my Creator and failing miserably to invest the time needed to grow in that relationship. The Lenten season gives me a chance to step back from the world, reflect on my sins and practice Christian discipline. It’s the discipline part where I usually come up short; my intentions are good but eventually life {and the world} get in the way. It seems harmless, just one day without talking to God; but one day turns into two, two turn into a week and before I know it I feel completely disconnected. I’ve found that the more deeply connected I become with the ways of this world, the less connected I become with my faith.

On that note, tomorrow I will delete the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone, ban myself from watching television and begin my Lenten project. My goal is to crack open the bible and read one verse every day, just one. Now, if that one verse happens to lead to reading the entire chaper for context, I will gladly do so. I’ve been trying this out for a few days already and it’s amazing to see how these seemingly random verses pertain to my life. I’m so excited to see where I will find God and how he will lead me in the next 40 days!

Photos, Photos on the Wall

March 4, 2011

After months of collecting picture frames, I have finally accumulated enough to create a decent sized photo wall! I’ve been brainstorming ways to fill the empty space above our sofa since day one in the apartment and a photo collection has always been at the top of my list.

This project, start to finish, has taken over three months; definitely not a weekend undertaking. I probably made about 7 or 8 trips to Salvation Army and Goodwill over time, searching for frames that a) were made out of wood, b) had a strong structure, c) included a mat and glass, and d) weren’t too boring and had a little detail. For the longest time they just sat in a pile in the corner of our living room, waiting to be painted. A big part of my hesitation was due to the fact that I wanted the wall to be repainted before I hung the frames and we’d been putting that off since we moved in.

A few weeks ago I finally got it together and decided to get started. The first thing I did was cover all of the mats in fabric so they would match. I got the idea from this post on the Bower Power Blog and I copied her steps pretty much exactly except I used a rough burlap instead of fabric. This step in the process just confirmed my distain for spray adhesive; it gets everywhere, doesn’t hold very well and never seems to dry completely. Maybe someday it will be able to redeem itself but today is not that day.

The next weekend we headed to Home Depot for a few supplies: a can of Krylon spray paint for the frames, some sand paper, a gallon of wall paint, one roller, a quart of faux glaze, a sample-size container of brown paint and some glazier points. We borrowed a step ladder from a neighbor and knocked out the wall painting in a couple of hours with Mark doing the rolling and me doing the cutting in. We used Martha Stewart’s Fennel Seed in an eggshell finish; goodbye baby blue!

My first step in painting the frames was to thouroughly sand them down and wipe them clean; most of them had a clear glossy finish so the sanding was 100% necessary in order for the new paint to stick. Then I laid some cardboard out on our patio and started spraying. When we bought the spray paint, Mark talked me out of buying two cans even though I was 99% sure we would need it…and we did…trip #2 to Home Depot.

Once the paint had dried overnight, I got to work sanding again, only this time I focused on the edges and corners to give them a worn look. This gives the tinted glaze something to stick to when it’s applied in the next step.

The whole painting, sanding then glazing idea again came from the Bower Blog; they used glaze on their newly built headboard and footboard to pronounce the seams and give it an aged look. I wanted to give the frames a similar antiqued finish that would stand out nicely on the wall and make the frames’ details more visible.

Using the 4:1 ratio suggested on the can, I mixed the glaze and brown paint {I forget the color but it’s MS}. I literally used 1/4 cup of glaze and 1 tablespoon of paint…definitely didn’t need an entire quart of glaze but that was the smallest size available.

I applied the glaze mixture to the lightly sanded frames using a small art brush, making sure to get in every nook and cranny. Then I immediately wiped off the excess with an old sock, leaving behind a little bit of glaze which stuck to the sanded parts and in the crevices. Sorry, no pictures of this step as my hands were covered in glaze at this point {it’s a tad messy}.

The frames were left to dry overnight and the next morning it was time to assemble. Our desk was cleared and turned into my workstation where I cleaned the glass, inserted the mats and photos, then secured it all together with a few glazier points.

{Side note: am I the only one that didn’t know that they were called glazier points? Because I definitely did not…but now I do}

Early on in the project, before having prints made, I laid the frames out on the floor, trying different configurations to see what looked the best. The layout ended up being centered around the largest frame with a smaller, vertical frame centered beneath it and two matching horizontal frames on either side.  Thanks to this, hanging was pretty simple; we hung the large frame first then added the others around it.

The wall color looks a little more aqua in this photo than it truly is, pesky lighting.

I just love how the frames and the new paint complement each other and how the sepia-toned photos play off of the brown burlap. All of the photos are from our trip to Boston and Maine last summer; it took me forever to narrow it down to just six.

The antique J keys we found last weekend at our favorite south Congress thrift shop, Uncommon Objects. That place is like Ikea to me, I’m always in there for at least an hour and, though I rarely buy anything, I always leave feeling inspired.

The wall color shown behind the the frame detail below is about as close to the real thing as I could get.  It’s an awesome green/grey color that complements the yellow in our living room rug quite nicely.

My favorite part of this project is how the glazing technique played out; don’t those frames look like something straight out of your grandma’s attic?

Pancake Pyramid

March 3, 2011

When one volunteers to make pancakes for breakfast it goes without saying that they earn the right to create fun and unusual shapes with the batter. The classics consist of hearts, flowers or letters with the more talented artists going for funky-shaped animals or entire words. My mission? To make the ultimate pancake pyramid stack. In between the normal-sized pancakes I filled the extra space on the griddle with smaller pancakes of varying size until I had enough to build a 7-8 inch pyramid. Who says grown ups can’t play with their food? Yum.