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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Industrial Crate Coffee Table Instructions

So, I've wanted a coffee table for a long while now, but I wanted something that made a statement, that said something about us.  Of course, we could only find something like that at World Market or Pier 1 Imports.  But I don't have a budget that fits those stores.  Therefore, I turned to pinterest, and found this blog,, where she used wine crates to make a coffee table.  Bingo!

For this fantastic piece of art you'll be creating, you'll need:
4 wine crates
4 round ball feet (whatever size, depending on how high you want it)
1 quart stain
2-3 foam brushes
Drop cloth
Sand paper
Short screws

So, I have been collecting Michael's 40% off coupons, and then my sweet mother-in-law came to town, and bought me my crates.
Originally they were $12.99, but with the coupons, they were $8 each.

Then, I needed to find a stain that I liked.  I don't really like red-based browns, like cherry, and some shades of mahogany, so I wanted to make sure I had a nice, dark brown.  You won't believe it, but this was the hardest part of the process!  The stain I liked was a new color they'd just added, so they didn't have a sample, and I'm a little indecisive, so it took a little longer than needed.
But finally, I settled on 1 quart of Honey, from Minway Polyshades (polyurethane and stain in one), and I love it!

The worst part of the process was the sanding.  The inside of the crates were still rough (one of them wasn't, and if I were doing this again, I would try to make sure they all were clean and sanded down, would've made it easier).  I've never worked with wood before, so I finally learned what "not going against the grain" means.  In this case, it was going side-to-side, rather than up and down.

Next came the staining.  I put down half the drop cloth (all my little patio needed), and started staining the inside first.  
The stain I got was really runny, and a crate being the shape and size it is (slats), it was very difficult to paint it, without dripping.  So, I simply started with the inside, going out, and then set it down on the edges (upside down).

I let them dry, and then stained them again.
I had bought some wood ball feet at Michael's for $1.34 each, and stained those too.

We bought some screws, Dan borrowed the screw driver from church (birthday present idea right there!), and he screwed it all together.  The crates weren't perfect, naturally, so he screwed them together in such away that the top was straight.  So,  the bottom wasn't as straight, which was fine, because on a carpeted floor, it shouldn't matter too much.

He put at least 5 screws on each connecting side.  One more if he felt it needed it.

Finally, he screwed on the feet, and was done.  We kept the middle free, and put a vase in it, for branches, or something like that in the future.
That night, we went to Michael's again, and found a couple things I couldn't live without, and lucky me, they were 50% off!

We liked that it was still "beachy", but with a modern twist.
Also, figured Bella wouldn't be as tempted to chew on it.

Love the color, it's bamboo, it was on sale...
what more do you need?

So, are you ready to see it?

Bella really likes it too!  Just have to learn to jump around it!
I just love how it turned out!
So!  There is my biggest project yet!  I love, love, love it, and it makes me happy every time I walk through the door!

Please leave your comments, and let me know if you have any thoughts, ideas or improvements.  If you're unable to comment, and have any ideas on how to fix THAT (which is a huge pain in my butt) please email me at

Have a crafty day!

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's All In The Details - 5 Easy 5-10 Minute Projects For Your Home

I love crafty projects.  The only thing I love more, are quick and easy crafty projects.  While enhancing our "beachy" living room (check out my sand bowl tutorial for more), I created a few accents, that I wanted to share with you.

The first is the twine wrapped jar.  It's exactly what the name implies.  I like to keep the jars of from Yankee candle-type candles.  They're really sturdy glass, and when you're paying $10 for a candle, you better believe I'm going to reuse whatever part I can.

So, here's what you'll need:
1 jar/bottle/container
hot glue gun

Glue the tip of the twine to the side, at the very top (or wherever you want it to start), then just start twisting it up the jar.  

I put glue dabs in one line up the jar, creating a seam, just in case it looked really bad, that way I could just turn it out of sight.  I'm going to make a couple more, in different sizes to create a set.


My second creation is a cork coaster.  If you drink wine, this is a great way to reuse your corks, using ones that were from special wines or vintages.  If you don't drink wine, you can use ones from cooking wine, or if you don't use it for cooking, ask someone who does to save them for you.  

What you'll need:
8 corks/coaster
hot glue gun

Simply glue the corks in this pattern.  The hot glue doesn't adhere the corks SUPER strong, so make sure that wherever they're touching each other, that there's glue.  It's plenty sturdy to hold glass, but if you're gonna bend it, or if Bella gets a hold of it, it won't hold up to that.  We also made a cork cork board about a year ago, to which the link is here:

This one may be the simplest yet!
Just a cylindric vase, filled with some natural elements, plop a candle on top, and you have a mantle decoration.

You'll need:
3-4 natural elements (I used sand, brown rice and coffee beans)
Cylindric vase (or 2)
Candle (or 2)
Good eye-balling skills 

Always put things that are smaller pieces on the bottom, because otherwise the smaller pieces will seep through the cracks underneath them (like that story about the teacher that puts the rocks in the jar, then the pebbles, then the sand, and then the water).  So I started with the sand.  I used the same sand that I used to make the sand bowl (tutorial) from Atlantic Beach, here in Jacksonville.  It's more of a gray colored sand than a brown one, and although I like how it turned out, I think for this one I would've preferred a more brown one, but that's all up to you.  Then, I poured in the brown rice, and I tried to pour about the same amount as the sand.  Next came the coffee beans (it's very rare that there is a coffee shortage in our house, so there was no problem there).  This is where I stopped for a few days.
Then, my crafty-but-don't-tell-anyone husband took me to Michael's to pick up feet for our coffee table we were making, and we ended up buying a couple extra things, which weren't on the list.  Like two perfectly sized turquoise candles.

I keep misplacing my keys, so I wanted somewhere I could put them, but I wanted it to look cute too.  In fact, I think that's how I would describe the things I make: functional shabby chic.  Dan had an antique frame (which was also neat, because we found an old family picture in it) that I found while unpacking.  That started me thinking... So for this:

You'll need this:
Wood frame
2 small hooks with screws at the end
Wall hook

Just measure out where you want your keys to hang, screw in small hooks, hang keys on, and hang on wall!

The last project might take a little longer than 5-10 minutes, but it's cute, and I wanted to share it with you.  We had this old dumpster-dive shelf/coat hanger that I've wanted to put up, but didn't like the color.  So, we bought some turquoise spray paint,

 took off the hooks, painted it, 

waited for it to dry, screwed it all back together, hung it up - and another functional yet cute piece has been added to our room!

If you have any quick and easy updates you've done in your home, please share them!

ps:  I'm having difficulty with the comment settings, for some reason people aren't able to comment.  If you have a blog, and can think of anything I might do to fix it, please let me know at!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bring the Beach Home - With a Sand Bowl

One of the many perks of living in Jacksonville, especially where we live, is its proximity to the beach.  I've never lived near the beach, the closest body of water I had growing up was the Danube, which is beautiful, but you only swim in it if you want to get radiation poisoning.  (Explains a lot about my brother, Jonathan)
So, it's a real treat to live only a 15-20 minute drive from 5 different beaches.  And we love it.  In fact, we love it so much, we decided to go with a beach theme in our living room. Not a nautical, lighthouse, blue and white kind of theme.  (Please don't take offense if this is you, just not our scene.)  We're using neutrals, with a couple featured colors.  About a month ago we found these great couch covers at Target, and these awesome kind of tribal-looking pillows that gave us the color-scheme.

Now, on to today's project.  Sand bowl.
What you'll need is:
White Elmer's School Glue
A bowl
Plastic wrap
Disposable bowl and spoon

And that's it!

Dan and I went to the beach a couple weeks ago, to go shelling, and we took a ziplock with us to get some local sand.
When we got home, I put the bag of sand in the freezer, to make sure all the critters that live in the sand died before I glued them to death.  (Apparently freezing to death is more humane, go figure.)
After three days in the freezer, I figured it was good to go.  
I used a disposable bowl and spoon to mix about a 1/2 up of sand with the white glue, until it has a runny texture.

Next, I wrapped a bowl I liked the size of in plastic wrap.

I poured a little bit of the sand mixture onto the bowl.  

Pour some, wait for it dry a little (hour or so), then pour a little again, wait, pour it again, wait... until it looks how you want it to.

Then you just have to wait.  I would say 72 hours.  Then, lift the plastic wrap off the bowl, then gently pull the wrap off the sand, and voila!

Now, I poured too much, and my first layer went a little crazy, so it pooled at the bottom.  I had to take some scissors to it, and cut it to where I liked it.

I tried to follow the natural lines, and give it the look of the "waves".  
After that, I simply sprayed a clear sealant, to harden it up a little bit, make it so it wouldn't crumble, and keep Bella from being tempted to chew on it.

And here's my awesome sand bowl!

I put sea glass in it, and set it on our new crate coffee table,
for which there will be a blog entry up very soon!

To help you out, here are a couple tips:
1. Start off only pouring a little bit at a time.  I poured too much, and it made everything else harder than it needed to be.  
2. Set the bowl on some plastic wrap, just in case it overflows. 
3. Try to get the plastic wrap under the sand mixture as wrinkle-free as possible, because the sand will mold to whatever it looks like.
4.  The more layers it has, the longer it'll take to dry, however the harder and sturdier it'll be too.

Hope that helped some people out there, who have seen this on pinterest, but felt it was too overwhelming.  It was super easy, inexpensive and fun!  In fact, I think I might have my kids make them for mother's day.

Enjoy!  Let me know if this works for you, if you've tried something else that worked better!

ps: I've changed every setting in the comments section, but people still aren't able to comment on my posts.  Any bloggers out there have any ideas on how to fix this?  I'd love any help I can get!  Email me at

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dance Like David Danced

Verse: 2 Samuel 6:13-16, 6:20-23
Media: Court scene from Footloose

I love movies.  I can quote them, I know who the actors are in them, I love soundtracks, I love the stories they tell... I love movies.  One of my favorite ones is Footloose.  Now mind you, not the new one.  The REAL one.  The ORIGINAL one!  In getting ready to speak tonight, I analyzed why it is that I love(d) this movie so much.  When I saw this movie for the first time I was probably about 13-14.  I loved to dance!  Ballet, jazz, school parties- any kind of dancing, you name it, I was there.  
Now my dad on the other hand- not such a huge fan.  He was okay with the ballet, but not the rest of it.  So, whenever I wanted to go to a party, it was a huge battle with him, that usually ended in him saying something like “Well, I’ll trust you’ll do the right thing... and I’d go to the party.”  So, when I saw this movie I was like “Oh my gosh!  Someone went into my brain, and made a movie about me!  Okay, they added a Kevin Bacon, it’s in a small town, it happened before I was even born, and the girl is kind of easy, but other than that... totally me.”
I’m going to show you one of my favorite scenes - cue video.

Whenever I saw this scene, I would look at my dad and go “mhhhh-mmmm!”  And my dad would tell me that the verses were being taken out of context, and that that’s not what they were about, but by that point they were back to dancing, and I wasn’t listening anymore.

Fast forward to this month.  We’ve been talking about worship in our Sunday school class this month, and that same story about David came up up, and I immediately thought “Woooo!  Footloose!!!”  And then I actually read what they had to say, and I went back to the Bible.  

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.” 2 Samuel 6:13-16
 “And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants' female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”  And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince[a] over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord.  I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your[b] eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.”  And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.” 2 Samuel 6:20-23
Here are the things I found out.

1. Worship not performance

Check it out.  David didn’t dance for anybody but God.  The King of Israel was literally in the street, dancing and shouting for the Lord.  It wasn’t for a crowd, for a woman, and he didn’t care what the people around him thought.  He was worshipping in mind, body and soul.  He was so thankful to God for the return of the Ark, that he let go of any self-awareness and danced with reckless abandon.  It was not a performance, where the dancer was main center of attention.  There was no audience, no applause, and no congratulation.  These are all elements that we should remember when we are worshipping God or ministering through the arts.  Even though, naturally there is an audience, because we are dancing as a ministry, we are not performing for an audience, we are worshipping God.  Although, of course applause feels good, and it may even feel deserved, remember that the applause shouldn’t be for you, it should be for the message you portrayed to someone.  People will inevitably congratulate you, I try to congratulate you because I know how hard you all work.  But even in that situation, you should always point the attention back to God.  Remember that the focal point shouldn’t be the worshipper, but that the focal point should be God.
There are plenty of wrong reasons to worship.  Like, the cute worship leader in your youth band, whose type is probably the “worshipful” type.  Or, because the people around you are doing it.  Or, my personal confession.  When I first got engaged, for months I only “worshipped” with my left hand.  My bling sparkled so beautifully!  But like I said.  All of our surrounding need to me removed, to where we can focus all our attention on He who deserves worship.

2. Judge and be Judged

When reading this passage, I kind of felt for Michal, because I was thinking “If Dan were dancing like a mad man, in an undershirt, or what have you in youth service, you’d better believe we’d have a very similar chat.”  But, I’d never had really noticed that last verse until now.  “And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.”  Obviously there was something that God found fault with in what she said.  Also, I’ve learned enough about God to know that it’s not usually about WHAT people say that He has issues with, but rather the MOTIVE and the SPIRIT behind what they say.  
So, I decided to read what Michal said to David again.  She said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”  She mocked him, spoke down to him, and called him vulgar.  Her issue with him wasn’t necessarily that he was half-naked, because actually, I found out that the “ephod” was just a simple commoner’s robe.  So her problem was that he wasn’t behaving in the way that she thought a king should act.  He had acted in uninhibited worship, and now he was being judged for it.  Isn’t that the main reason that we fear worshipping like that?  Because we’re afraid someone will pull a “Michal” on us?  That someone might think or say something like “when she knelt down I could totally see her spare tire popping out” or “Did you see how crazy they looked jumping up and down, with snot coming out of their face?”
And do we not think things like that about other people?  Things like, “How can they be worshipping, when I know they have sin in their lives” or “Seriously, that kid has no rhythm.”
Are these the things that worship is about?  Are only the well dressed, thin, coordinated, graceful, musically inclined, pulled-together, sinless people allowed to worship?  Because if that’s the case, we would have very silent church services.
I’ve always loved music and loved God, so naturally I’ve always loved worship.  When I was about 9, I was in a worship service in Hungary, with my hands in the air, when an elderly lady behind me said “oh, how cute!”.  Now, she didn’t mean to hurt me by what she said, but to be quite honest, she kind of broke my spirit for a little while.  Because I wasn’t trying to be “cute”, or even imitate what I saw around me.  I was worshiping God, and that was all I was doing.  She judged, not even maliciously, but she did judge my motive.  And it effected my attitude towards worship for a couple years.
Michal judged her husband on “not looking the part”, and as we know, judgement is reserved for God alone.  So God punished her.  
Don’t judge the worshippers around you.  We all have plenty of things we could be judged on, but aren’t you thankful that Jesus already took care of that?  And that we are free in Christ?  We are free to dance, free to sing, free to worship God with everything within us.

3. Strip Down

Like I said before, King David was wearing an Ephod.  This wasn’t a G-string, a loin cloth or a speedo.  It was the outer coat of a commoner.  This is not what he would’ve normally been wearing.  This means that he would’ve had to have taken off his royal, kingly robe.  That means that he humbled himself before the Lord.  There was no hiding behind what or who he was to man, there was no acting.  When it comes to God, we are all equal.  It doesn’t matter how we look, what our background is, or who is sitting next to us.  What matters is whether or not we come to God in honesty, not hiding anything from him and spiritually “barring all”.  
It’s easy to pretend we’re a certain way with others.  We can say the right things, act the right way, wear the right clothes... but with God?  We can’t do those things.  He sees right through what you’re saying, to what you’re thinking.  He sees right through how you’re acting to the way you’re feeling.  He sees right through your clothes, and sees your heart.  There’s no reason to put on a show for God, and yet we do it all the time.  In our worship we tend to be “me”, “self”-centered instead of God-centered.
That’s why we should take the example of David.  If anyone had any reason to act a certain way it was David.  And yet he was so moved in his worship to God, that all that mattered was that.