Thursday, October 8, 2015

my dreamy hand-me-down summer office

I'm spending one of my last days working out here in my summer office. It's getting cold. The leaves are starting to change ever so slowly. Before long my little space heater won't be able to keep up with the cold that creeps thru these un-insulated walls and old single pane windows. I'm going to miss all this light and inspiration. {sigh......}

Last spring I moved my office out into our 3 seasons room. Like most things I do, it was done on a whim in the middle of doing dishes or folding clothes. It wasn't planned. I got an idea and started dragging furniture around. And that's what I love most about it. At that point, I had a big shaggy rug a friend had given me, an old desk from yet another friend, a broken folding chair I used as my desk chair, and my computer. And then over the summer, as I sat and dreamed and worked in this new space, the room slowly became something fabulous. 

I found an old table at a resale shop that I bought thinking one day we'll have a dining room...until then, it's my space to sketch and pile things. Then I scored hand me down sofas. One of which now sits across my desk. It's the perfect place for the hubby or kids to plop down and stare at me. And believe me, the kids pile on that thing regularly and beg me to stop working. {ha} 

It may not be the "normal" office set up, but I think that's what makes it so fabulous. It's ours. It's what works for us, and it came together thru hand-me-downs and garage sales and my quirky design on a whim ideas. The two light fixtures are both from garage sales, one $2, the other $20. The wing back chair is from Craigslist. Also only $20. I bought it planning to paint the fabric, but have since fell in love with the soft pink. I did end up painting the legs white, and it might be my most favorite piece of furniture in this whole house. The only new items in this office are the pillows and throws, and I bought those at Tuesday Morning (another cheap-o discount type store).

I share the prices of these finds just in case you look at these pictures and see $$$ I spent a lot of money. The most I spent was on the table, it was $120...but totally worth it.

This is the 3 Seasons Room when we first moved in.
I have dreams of painting the fireplace and the paneling (of course). And those drapes...they came with the house when we bought it :)

This is what the space looked like before it became my office. 
What a mess!

This is the room the day I moved my desk in.
You can see I'm still using the old broken folding chair as my desk chair.

My craigslist wing back chair BEFORE
**it might scream nursing home but just wait**

My craigslist wing back chair AFTER
**just painted the legs and added some pillow bling**
the dining room table I'm using as a desk. i just looooove it.
It seems pointless do the work of moving furniture and styling a room only to get to enjoy it for a season. But it's refreshing for me in so many ways. I think sometimes we need to look at our work from a new angle to get new and refreshing ideas. I was actually introduced to this concept at a design seminar years ago (at Steelcase, I think). They told us that if we were stuck on an idea, that our brain could dig deeper and reach into other untapped areas for stimuli if we introduced it to a new environment while designing. The basic message was...step away from your desk, your conference table, whatever... and go draw and sketch and design in a different place altogether. Not one your brain is used to. And preferably NOT at a desk. ? It's probably one of the best little nuggets of wisdom I've came across as far as designing goes. I can't tell you how many rooms and spaces have come together while sketching in my yard on a blanket. 

Switching spaces and moving rooms is like therapy for my design soul. As much as I love what this office has become out here...I'm looking forward to a new view to keep the creativity brewing.

Here are some more photos of my dreamy hand-me-down summer office :)

a glued together acanthus leaf. why not?
i got this at a design swap {for free}.

my favorite books, sharpies, wood chunks I drew on, and a glass cloche from a garage sale. design doesn't have to be expensive.
my desk is never this clean, i promise.
the clock is from meijer! and the white box and bin are from target. i borrowed these items from other rooms in my house...which is a great way to re-think a room my friends. grab items from other rooms and they might just come alive in your new space. oh, and the wire bin is another garage sale find.

here is the other sofa in my make-shift office.
this is where kids climb and read and color and snack.

or where they wear one shoe and their sister's skirt around their neck. but whatever.
good times and snacks are had in this room while Momma works.

cans and twigs and stacks of books.

my table top decor consists of chunks of wood, a beer bottle with yarn glued to it and white milk vases from Goodwill.

i made 50 or so of these "trays" you see hanging here for my sister-in-laws baby shower.
{we used them to serve soup cute}
but now I've added some chalk paint and use them as message boards in my office.
and finally, find a way to incorporate art. it can be art you make...and it doesn't have to be perfect!  or hung on a wall either. it adds a little whimsy and meaning to your space.
Is my office perfect? No way. But it's coming together, slowly...just like so many of the good things in life do. 


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

simply tuesday

We celebrated our anniversary this weekend. It's been eight years for us now. We didn't do what people would normally think of for an fancy dinner, no big gifts or surprises, no night out on the town all done up in our rock star clothes. Instead we drove 11.5 hours to North Carolina for a book release party for an author I love. {insert crickets} This is where the awkward silence happens...where crickets chirp because no one really knows how to respond to

Sounds fun, right? I've heard it a few times in the voices of friends and family..."so what are you doing exactly...what is this for? Is this a work thing? Did you stop anywhere else along the way? Did you go out to dinner?"

Nope. None of those things. We ate fast food for most of the trip, and I wore the same clothes home that I wore there. {gasp!} But I tell you what my dear ones, it might have been the best anniversary weekend we've ever had. There were no expectations. No reasons to fuss. Just us, in a car, in our comfy clothes, singing a little Poison and having the best conversations about our dreams, our God, our smallness.

That's a big part of the reason we made the trip to North Carolina. God's been teaching us our smallness. It's been unfolding for us over the last year or so. You know, thru life altering, soul shattering moments of the hard and the good and the every day. I think it's fair to say we used to chase after life. It's like we were trying to get there. Wherever "there" was. Because that's where real life would start. Right? That's when we'd feel full and accomplished and like we were ENOUGH. 

But that way of thinking has been blown out of the water by ventilators and hospitals and heart defects. We don't look too far ahead, we try not to chase life. We don't always win that battle either. But like I've said before, we have these new eyes now. We see differently. We look at leaves on trees and shake our heads at their glory. We wear tool belts at work even when it's not necessary...we take pictures of hard hats and steel mills because we know we might not always get to...we savor the opportunity to work hard. We're present in the moment in ways we never were before. We pound our fists and raise our hands and sing to our God and know in 10 minutes we could be standing there in glory with Him...hands raised...forever. 

Life is short. Shorter than we realized. It's always been. We are a mist. MIST, people. The every day is a gift and there is so much so much. You just have to slow your pace, open your hearts and look for it. 

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
James 4:14

And by the way, we're not facing death. We're not dying in 10 minutes, there's nothing that serious going on. But that doesn't mean we're not living like it. It's a small-moment perspective as Emily P. Freeman would say. One that might sound sad and dreary because it's about being small and embracing it...but for us, it's not like that. It's more like the lottery. ? And guess what, we won! Yeah, we might be carrying around a bucket of the hard stuff, and it's heavy...and more than a little annoying. But it pales in comparison to the sea of joy we experience loving the little things like trees and leaves and tool belts. Because could be like it was before. Pretty. And easy. Derek could have a perfect heart and could be strong and run and push hard like he so badly wants to...but the holes would be in our souls then, not our bodies. We wouldn't have these eyes. I choose these eyes. And I know he would too.     

So when I read a book like Simply Tuesday and am reminded to boast in my weaknesses and live small ... it just makes sense to drive across the country to celebrate it. Emily's words resonate with me. It's pretty much what we've been living and breathing, but she connects the dots for us like we couldn't have done on our own.  One of my favorite parts of her book...

"Jesus taught his disciples to pray for daily bread, the kind we can't carry into tomorrow. Looking to the future may give meaning to my work, but I have to be careful not to look to the future to find meaning for my life. There is a daily-ness to my work, a small-moment perspective that whispers for me to connect with the work in my right-now hands, not because it's going to become something Big and Important, but because Someone who is Big and Important is here, with me, in me, today."
Emily P. Freeman

What we've been learning is that the package will never be complete my friends. The nice and tidy, money having, skinny life of our dreams will never make us whole. It fills our eyes, our pride, but it will never fill our souls. Our souls were made by God and for God. And THAT is what we long for. I am enough...Derek is enough...YOU are enough...because HE is more than enough. When the Father looks at me, He sees Christ. He sees perfection. I can rest there. We all can. 

The truth is...we don't need to get "there"...we can live free and full right here. With broken heart valves and all. We don't know how many days we have on this earth. None of us do. All of our futures are unknown. So I say right here, wherever you are...look for the good. Look for the only real Good there is...look for GOD. And you'll start finding joy in what you have, in where you are, with what's right in front of you. 

End rant. :)

Here are some pictures from my two North Carolina trips to the Nester's Barn. One was for a Cozy Minimalist event The Nester was having...and the other to celebrate the release of Emily's new book Simply Tuesday. And these two ladies are the real deal by the way. They are genuine and kind and crazy talented. They write and create and give glory to God. 

{Prepare to swoon}  

wow. just wow!

i wish this wasn't blurry. but the kitty was a busy body.

this is where my husband starting having fun.
when he noticed he could take a picture of me with a tree stump body.

i knew he was up to something

me and emily! 

he's trying to understand chandeliers and pretty things. 
bless him for trying!

*photos by myself, my hubby, and fellow Cozy Minimalist's Kirsten Thompson and MJ Taylor