$5 Goodwill Challenge & Fireplace Decor Tour — Fall 2015

Beginning last January I began to dip my toes into the waters of YouTube. It took a while for me to actually get up the courage to post a video after thinking about it for months. One of the first people I began following was Hillary from My So Called Home . I found her when I was searching out planner videos (yes, that’s a thing and it’s addictive). Every season Hillary has a $5 Goodwill Challenge. The challenge is to go to Goodwill, other thrift stores or garage sales, spend $5 or less and then incorporate what you purchased into your seasonal decor. I have wanted to participate since I first saw it, but with the impending move last fall and then the remodel since we have moved, I haven’t been able to participate. I am so excited to finally be able to join in the fun!! 

Now, I did spend more on my decor than $5. Mainly because all of my decorations are still in storage. 😉  But I did find some things from Goodwill that fit the parameters of  the challenge. I’d like to take you on a tour of my fireplace and share with you what I upcycled and bought new. I hope you will enjoy the tour here and on YouTube and that you will be inspired to try something new.   photo Fall20fireplace201_zpsh52pexqe.jpg

I created this mercury glass mason jar by using Krylon Looking glass spray paint. It was really easy. I sprayed the jar on the inside with the paint. When that was dry I sprayed a mixture of white vinegar and water on the outside and immediately sprayed on the paint. Then I dabbed the water drops with a paper towel. I had never created a mercury glass affect before and was quite pleased with the result. I purchased the flowers at Michael’s for .79 each and have 3 stems in the jar. The paint was a little pricey- $8 for a small can- but I was able to paint 3 items with it.  So for the whole vase and flowers I spent about $5.

 The candle next to the vase is 2 votive candle holders with one inverted. The one on the bottom has a bigger mouth and a slightly bigger base which gives it good stability. If I were going to have them down where they could be knocked over I would have glued them together, but since they are up high I haven’t. Not having them glued has come in handy when I am turning off the LED candles. I purchased the candles at Walmart. The smaller ones are 2 for $2.97 and the larger one is $2.97.  I purchased the votives at Dollar Tree for $1 each. For each of the raised candles I spent $3.50. 

The garland that is draped on the mantle is actually made up of 4 garlands from Dollar Tree. I thought they looked a little sparse, so I twisted them together to get a fuller look. I spent $4 for the garland on the mantle. 

This pumpkin was one of those pumpkins we’ve probably all had at some time or another. It was orange and I’m sure it used to have a top. I actually like it better without the top and stem for some reason.  I tried to make this a mercury glass pumpkin, but found out it doesn’t work on something that isn’t clear. I liked the affect anyway and now and glad it is slightly different from the mercury glass pumpkin. It doesn’t look quite so matchy- matchy (that’s a technical decorating term in case you were in doubt 😉 )

I did really well at Michael’s this week when I was finishing out the decor. They had a 40-50% off sale on all of their fall decor. This sign was among the many wonderful decorations on sale. When I went in the store I had one idea of what I wanted, but when I saw this sign, I knew it was perfect. It was originally $9.99 but I only paid $6. The sign sat a little lower than I wanted so I bought a Styrofoam rectangle at Walmart and some brown felt. I used straight pins to attach the felt to the block; it isn’t super obvious and puts the sign up where it needs to be. The votive holder is another one from Dollar Tree.  

This pumpkin, which is also topless, was the clear glass type. I bought this one at Goodwill for $1.99.  I spray painted it using the same method I did with the mason jar and was really pleased with how it turned out. 
 

This birdcage was our first thrifting  purchase once we moved to north Louisiana.  We got it at Goodwill for $5. The LED candle in it is another one from Walmart, which was $2.97 and the leaves are a garland from Dollar Tree. I like that the bird cage can be changed up for different seasons. It’s also not too large and the size fits well on the mantle. 

I thrifted this basket a while back in Texas. It is one of the few decor pieces I had out of storage and it fit perfectly on the hearth. It is filled with Dollar Tree pumpkins that I spray painted cream and purple ( $6 ), two metallic pumpkins that I bought at Michael’s for about a dollar, and a bunch of flowers that were from Michael’s or Dollar Tree which were also a dollar. The silver pumpkin is resting in a cloche type glass lid, which I purchased at Goodwill for $1, and it has some Dollar Tree leaves in it. The basket is wrapped in two garlands from Dollar Tree. 

I knew that I wanted pumpkins to sit on this side of the hearth but was unsure what I would find when I went shopping. I was so excited when I got to Michael’s and they had exactly what I wanted and for 50% off.  I never would have paid full price for these, and I am so in love with them!! Can you fan-girl over pumpkins?? The largest one was originally $30, and I paid $15 and the smaller one was originally $20 and I paid $10. The green glass candy dish was from Goodwill and I paid $2. The dish contains metallic painted acorns that I got from the Target Dollar Spot for $3. 

So here’s my breakdown:

Goodwill: $12
Dollar Tree: $19
Michael’s : $38
Target: $6
Candles: $7.50
Paint: $16 out of pocket but I have 2/3 remaining of both the cream and the purple paint 

All in all I’m really pleased with how things turned out. It was fun to have a vision for a space and to have it work out the way I envisioned it. 

Have you decorated for fall yet? Do you ever thrift shop for home decor? Why or why not? 

Recent Life In Our House

Well, it’s 2 am and I am watching Fellowship of the Ring with Hannah, Rachel & Caroline, and listening to Lindsay cough uncontrollably in her bedroom.  In the last 24 hours the girls have had about 6 breathing treatments for their asthma, we have done several steam treatments tonight, countless doses of medicine, and hot tea by the gallon.  Sarah, the child that though she has special needs is rarely sick, even has an upper respiratory infection.  Gene seems to be getting over his URI, and I hope it stays away for a while.  Me, well, I’m not sick, I’ve just been running like crazy trying to keep up with everything that needs to be done (and quite honestly, I’m not succeeding).  I have started about 5 blog posts, which are currently waiting to be finished.

The opening to this post isn’t very cheery, but in all honesty, it’s not as depressing as it all may sound.  The Lord is teaching us all a great deal through this trial, and for that, I am very thankful.  Our holidays, while not full of activities, parties, and excitement, were full of meaningful times and expressions of love for one another.   For Christmas it is our common practice to have the girls draw another sister’s name, and they are given a certain amount of money to buy that sister a gift, or gifts.  They look forward to this with great anticipation, not looking forward to what they will get, but toward what they will give.  They spend countless hours in thought and preparation of their gift.  This year something spontaneous happened that surprised me.  The girls individually began spending their own allowances to buy small things to make for the sisters whose names they didn’t draw.  I know of many people who eschew gift giving at Christmas because of the belief that it causes greediness and the desire to get more and more.  In our family I have found the opposite to be true. The girls are appreciative of the gifts they receive, but generally have trouble even telling you what they want as gifts.  We have tried to nuture in them a desire to be cheerful givers whenever the opportunity arises, and we have seen good fruit from this thus far.December 31st, was our 25th wedding anniversary and Gene planned a big surprise for me.  On Wednesday evening, December 17th, Gene told me that first thing Thursday morning we would be heading out for a trip to San Antonio.  I have wanted to go for years, and love history, so this was the perfect surprise for me.  I was so excited to get to go to the Alamo after hearing about it for so many years. This may sound strange, but it was all I could do to not start crying as I entered the building for the first time. The realization of what had taken place there was heavy upon my heart.  The grounds of the Alamo are beautiful; it is hard to believe that they are right in the center of the city.

After the Alamo we went and checked into our Bed & Breakfast before going to the Riverwalk. It was a beautiful little B&B right on the river.  It was so peaceful and beautiful. It was quite overcast the two days we were there, which gave the city an unusual feel.  The river was beautiful, as was the boat ride down it.  As I was riding on the river, in the fog, under all of the bridges, it felt as if I was in London.  Once the sun went down and all of the Christmas lights came on, it was even more beautiful on the river.  I felt as if I was a child in a wonderland of lights.  After walking along the river for a while, we then at dinner at Boudro’s.  The food was amazing, and the bread pudding was a great end to the meal.  It was nice to eat on the riverwalk, watching the people as they walked by.  After we walked a while longer we went back to the van.  Gene knows how I love to take pictures, so he took me by the Alamo, so that I could get pictures at night.  It was an amazing site to see it with the lights illuminating it’s historic walls.  The next morning we ate breakfast at the B & B and then drove through a historic district nearby.  After a quick stop at the Buckhorn Museum downtown, we headed home.  The trip was wonderful for me, as it gave me a much needed break from the holiday rush.  It was nice to spend a day not thinking about all that I had to do to finish preparing for the holidays.  I don’t know that I have ever been so completely able to lay my thinking and planning aside.

San Antonio Album 1

San Antonio Album 2

San Antonio Album 3

Lindsay went to Little Rock the afternoon we returned from San Antonio for the wedding of some friends.  While there she was able to stay with Gene’s sister and to see her cousin’s new baby.  She had a wonderful trip, but picked up a bug on the return plane ride.

We had a very subdued but nice Christmas enjoying a lot of time together, with us all playing the new Wii together when the girls were up to it. Gene surprised me, and the girls, with a very nice present for Christmas. He had taken the girls shopping, and they picked out several nice things for me, not knowing about the secret gift.  He surprised us all with a top of the line Kitchen Aid Professional mixer.  The girls were as excited as I was to receive it.  We didn’t wait long to try it out either!

Since we had already celebrated our anniversary on our trip, on the 31st we just went to our favorite pizza place, New York Pizzeria and the mall.  Gene didn’t make it until midnight (I think he was beginning to get sick at that point) but the girls and I did.  We went outside at midnight to watch the fireworks, which lasted quite a while.  The next day Gene’s brother, Guy, came for a visit. We had a really nice visit while he was here, though the girls weren’t feeling quite up to snuff.I haven’t been taking a lot of pictures as of late, but I did get a chance to Friday at Gene’s office.  Lindsay was taking pictures inside for a brochure and the website, so I went outside to take pictures.  Gene’s new office is located on an acre of land in old Katy, in the middle of a neighborhood, which provided a few flowers and such to take pictures of around the office.

These are a few of my favorites.

It was fun to watch this little fellow flit from flower to flower. He almost looks as if he could fall in on his head and get stuck!

One of the things I have come to appreciate about nature photography, is the details that pop out at you that you didn’t even notice while taking the pictures.

I have also come to see many things I would have overlooked before, such as this flower.

These little fellows were none too happy that I kicked their mound to see if they were home. Yes, they are fire ants, but none of them got me…. mwahahaha.

This tiny fellow was almost invisible, until I got down really close to take this picture. Isn’t his little red self cute?Well, it’s after 4 am now.  Fellowship has finished, they have taken another round of breathing treatments, and they have started Two Towers.  I hope they are feeling better before it ends, but we’ll have to wait and see how that goes.  You are pretty much caught up with everything going on here.  I hope to begin posting more often, but only time will tell.

It’s A Wonderful Life

One of our family Christmas traditions is to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” together.  This year as we watched it together many thoughts came to me.  Maybe it is because of the economic climate and the realization that many are having a very hard time this year, or maybe it’s just because I’m getting older that I saw the movie through a different light.  I see so many parallels in this movie to our Christian walk, and it was a much needed reminder that my life, no matter how humble, is really quite wonderful.

George Bailey always had a plan for how he wanted to live his life, which included travel, adventure and excitement.  He saw Bedford Falls as a sleepy, boring town that constrained him. He wanted to do something important. Don’t we want this?  I know that I do.   I often see others’ lives as important or exciting and see the life they lead as somehow better or more important than mine.  In reality, I have been placed in this life, to serve the purpose that God has for me.  When all the girls are having asthma trouble, the nights get long, and my work seems never ending, I can feel overwhelmed.  I see my life as mundane and unimportant.  As I begin to pray for encouragement, the Lord reminds me that He has placed me here. He has me going through this circumstance to help me to grow to be more Christ-like.  The role He has given each of us is important.  We only need to serve Him faithfully and work to bring about His purposes.One of George’s greatest character traits was his unselfishness. When there was a run on the bank, in order to keep the Savings & Loan afloat he used his own money to help others out. I know that selfishness is a battle we must all fight.  One of the greatest things I have learned through being a mother of many, and one with special needs, is to set my own wishes aside.  Like George, I often don’t set out to do this and may even resent doing it.  With time I am learning to set aside my desires, and the way I am able to do this without having resentment is by realizing I am doing the task in service to the Lord. When I try to do things with other motives, it always seems to bring about frustration and resentment.  When I see every task as a service to Him, it seems that the frustration and resentment melt away.

Mary Bailey was great at making lemonade out of lemons.  When the money for her honeymoon was gone and George had spent the day saving the Savings & Loan, Mary could have built up resentment toward George and their circumstances.  Instead, she made the best out of a bad situation.  She put her own desires aside and looked for creative ways to serve George and to make their honeymoon special.  We often put pressure upon ourselves to have everything “just right.” We especially heap these expectations upon ourselves during the holidays.  On Christmas Eve as I was cooking our holiday meal and things began to go wrong, I started to feel that pressure. The three younger girls had been down with asthma & colds, and Lindsay was the only one who was able to help me prepare the meal. Then mid-afternoon, she realized she had the flu.  I sent her to bed and continued cooking.  For a while I let the pressure of trying to have everything “just so” get to me.  As the feelings of frustration and defeat began to take hold, I began praying.  I realized that I was taking the burden of the holiday being special on my shoulders, and I felt it’s success or failure rested wholly on me.  It was only when I began to realize what made the holiday special was our time together and enjoying one another, was I able to relax and enjoy the day.  I still had a good deal of work to do, but when I saw it as serving my Lord and my family, it became a joyful task instead of a burden.

As George’s life went on, he became more and more dissatisfied with his circumstances. He seemed to always be wishing for something other than what he had.  Discontentment is a joy robber.  When we are discontent, we are truly being ungrateful. We are saying to God, “I know that these are the circumstances that you have given me, but I would really like to be somewhere else. ”  Think on that for a moment.  We are telling the God of the universe that we have a better plan.  I cannot count the number of times I have done this very thing, and not even subtly.  I have flat out said that I had a better plan.  It makes me cringe to think of it.  How often do we ask God to deliver us from our current circumstances, when we should be looking to see what He is trying to show us.  Through many trials the Lord has shown me so many truths. I look back on my life and see the various trials I have gone through, not with regret or remorse, but with a thankful heart.  I feel blessed that the Lord has seen fit to show me His mercies and truths.

Times of despair will come to all of our lives, just as they did to George’s.  Often they are not of our own doing, just as George’s desperation wasn’t through any fault of his own.  Where do we turn when those times of despair come?  Who or what do we lean on? When we first found out that Sarah had medical problems, all we were told was that her head wasn’t growing.  Because we had no health insurance we had to wait for three months to see a neurologist.  I knew enough to know that if her head wasn’t growing, but her brain was, there were serious issues. All of this sent me into the pit of despair.  I had nowhere to turn, no one with any answers, except God.  I did a lot of praying during those three months.  When we finally did see the neurologist, the news was not good.  We were told to institutionalize Sarah, because she would never walk or talk and would basically be vegetative.  At those words the bottom fell out of my pit.  It felt as if the world were crushing in around me.  The only thing that got me through it all was the knowledge that God was in control.  I knew that He had me in His hand, and that nothing would happen that He wouldn’t help me to handle.  That doesn’t mean it was easy. Each day had a great many struggles, but I made it through each day.  He gave me the grace and mercy to make it through each hour, but He only gave me the grace I needed for that moment.  I learned a great deal about faith , and with each step I learned to have faith that He would be there to hold me up for the next step.

At the end of the movie Harry makes a toast to George saying, “To my big brother George, the richest man in town!”  Harry was right, George was rich . . . in everything that mattered. This is such a wonderful picture. Mr. Potter, who had all the worldly riches a man could desire, had none of the riches that really mattered. He may have lived in comfort, but he was bitter and lonely.  George, while poor in the things of this world, had love, family, and friends.The jewel of life that matters most can’t be purchased for any amount of gold.  That jewel is what Christmas is all about.  It is the redemption that was bought for us through the birth, death and resurrection of Christ.  As the decorations and lights come down, please think about the meaning behind your life and who you have served through it.  Though you may be rich or poor in the things of this world, at the end of time only one jewel will matter, that is the jewel of Christ Jesus.  If you would like to understand this better, please read this article.

A Week in Pictures July 9, 08

Last week we had a six legged visitor us late one night.  When we opened the door to let Maggie outside, this little fella made his way into the house. Rachel was the only one brave enough to let it walk on her.

The girls have developed and interest in embroidery, and have spent many hours over the last couple of weeks stitching away. I keep lots of craft supplies on hand so that when the urge to learn a new skill such as this strikes, I have what they need on hand. I was thankful I had tons of patterns on hand for them when they decided they wanted to start stitching.

I took some more pictures around the yard of the roses; I will only bore you with a couple.

On the 4th we went to the city fireworks display in the parking lot of the mall, along with a couple of thousand other people. The weather was perfect, warm with a gentle breeze. I will end our week on a bang. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I am doing an online book study with some other ladies on the book Designed to be His Helpmeet by Debbi Pearl*. I may write some about what I am studying here… we’ll see how it goes.

*I do not recommend the book for many reasons.