DIY Topiary Trees with Tiered Boxwood

What is it about spring that makes everything seem right in the world?  Dull hues of winter are quickly replaced by bright blooms and new green growth.  No matter the length of my to-do list, this season always gives me a sense of refreshment and renewal. 

birds nest

Whether it is the sight of beautiful flowers, the sound of baby birds or the cool breeze, I have decided that spring is without a doubt my favorite season.  I love to reflect this season in our home to bring inside the same fresh feeling of newness and restoration

entry way

One of my favorite ways to decorate for Spring is with boxwood balls and topiaries.  The bright green gives such a crisp contrast against spring flowers.  Boxwood is perfect to use throughout the year as they complement every season’s décor.  

small boxwoods

dining table

My favorite boxwood décor would have to be the two topiaries on my front porch that I included in my post 10 Steps to Affordable Curb Appeal.  They were such an easy DIY project and they make such an inviting statement.

front door topiaries.jpg

I made them at a fraction of the cost of those sold in stores and was able to make them exactly the size I wanted.  I have gotten many compliments on these topiaries and they have held up well over the past two years, even in the hot Texas sun.

finished topiary

What You Will Need:

  • Faux Boxwood balls
  • Long Branches
  • ¾ inch dowel rod
  • Wire
  • Stain
  • Decorative Pot or Urn
  • Aluminum pot – Small enough to fit in the pot/urn upside down
  • Hammer and large nail
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Scissors
  • Brush

Step 1:  Go online to find some faux boxwood balls.  The dried boxwood is very expensive and not the best option for outside.  You can find several faux options online that look very realistic.  I purchased mine at Joann’s.com when they had a 40% off sale.  I have also seem them at Hobby Lobby and consumercrafts.com.

To make a topiary that is configured like mine, you will need two 8-inch balls and one 10-inch ball but really any sizes will do.  This your opportunity to customize your topiaries to the size and style you want!

faux boxwood balls

Step 2:  Pick out a decorative pot or urn.  Ideally, you will want one that is heavy so that it is not easily blown over.

Step 3:  Find some very long straight branches and a ¾” dowel rod.  Combined together they will look just like a real boxwood stem.  If you can’t find branches, you can also use ¼ inch dowel rods at found at Home Depot.  I used branch trimmers to the larger dowel rod to …inches.  You can cut your branches about 8 inches shorter than the dowel rod.  You don’t want the branches to extend down into the aluminum pot, just the main dowel rod.

stem

I then fastened several of branches to the dowel rod with wire to make a large “stem”.  This is way more realistic looking than using one big dowel rod.  I tied wire around the stem branches underneath where each ball would go so the wire won’t be visible when it is all together.  The below picture is a side-view of the stained stem.

stem upclose.jpg

 

Step 4 :  Once you have your dowel rods or branches tied together, it is now time to stain.  I used a sample can ($2.30) of Behr’s semi-transparent deck stain in chocolate, because it is what I had on hand.  You could really use any stain or gel stain.  Ideally, you want to paint the stain on and let it be kind of streaky.  I let that dry for a couple of days.

bucket

Step 5 :  In the meantime, take your aluminum bucket and put it upside down in your decorative pot.  Use gorilla glue to glue the edges in the pot and let it dry 24 hours.

gluing bucket

Step 6 :  After the stain has dried, it’s time to make a hole for the trunk of the topiary.  I used a large nail and hammer and kept hammering holes until I had one big hole just the size of the set of sticks.  You want it to be a tight fit.

IMG_3407.JPG

Step 7 :  When the hole is the right size, squeeze some gorilla glue into the hole so it goes to the bottom of your pot or urn.  Stick in the trunk and make sure it is straight.  Let that dry 24 hours.  The gorilla glue expands and will hold everything in place.

glue is dried 

Step 8:  Take your boxwood balls and cut some of the net-like interior, just enough so the balls can fit tightly on the step

IMG_3412.JPG

One of my topiary balls was sliding down the step, so I wired some of that interior netting to the sticks.  (You’ll find most of these faux boxwood balls are hollow with an interior plastic netting that all the leaves attach to.)

You are done!

twin topiaries

Like I mentioned, boxwood topiaries are great to have around the house because they work for all seasons.  I love that they are the one decoration in the house I never have to change out.

DIY topiaries

Spring reminds me of new life but also consistency.  God tells us in Revelation 21:5 that He will make all things new one day.  Until then, we have spring’s reminder of the renewal and restoration that comes from only Him.

As God’s all about making things new, He offers us rejuvenation from life’s hardships and worries today.  Just as God cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, He personally cares about your every care and concern.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7  Although seasons of life change and our lives never seem to calm down, His love never changes.  He is our true constant, the one thing we can cling to as a calm in the midst of a storm. 

What do you feel is weighing you down?  Where are you in need of renewal and a fresh start?  Know that He cares for you more than you can possibly fathom and He waits for you to bear all your worries and fears.

 

Join us for Renovated Faith’s first giveaway!

Renovated Faith is giving away TWO of these three tiered trays – one for you and one for a friend!  Check back to see how to enter!

1 peter 5 7

 

‘Til Next Time,

 

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The Blessing of “No”: Why God Never Laughs At Our Plans (Free Printable)

Have you waited for your plans to come unfold only to have them fall apart?  Have you mapped out the blueprint to your life but can’t seem to make it a reality?  You may have heard the joke, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”.  But in reality, as difficult as it is to let go of our expectations, God’s “no” is so often what we need most.

God's blueprint

One spring day, my dad was going through my grandparents’ old things.  In the trash pile, I saw some old rolled-up blueprints.  I unrolled them to find a picture of a house that was never built and a dream that had never been realized.

My grandparents lived in New Jersey and had grand plans to build the very home sketched on those worn, brittle pages.

However, God had a different plan. 

Establishes Steps - Renovated Faith

An opportunity to start their own photography business arose in Houston and the house they had dreamed of was never built.   Knowing the move from New Jersey to Texas would be a difficult one, they almost changed their minds at the last possible minute.  However, the moving van was just around the corner and so were the plans that the Lord had laid before them.

What would have happened if the dream of that house was realized?  What would have come about if they had stayed in New Jersey and adhered to their plan?  For one thing, my parents may have never met and I would have never been born.  They had to make a sacrifice to follow the right plan and my life was one result of many.

blueprint closeup

In the same way, God had to tell His only son “no”.  While praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, right before Judas’ betrayal, Jesus prayed out to His Father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

God knew that Christ’s death on the cross would force His only Son to bear merciless pain but the outcome would be far worth His suffering.  As a result of Christ’s death on the cross, a sacrifice was made allowing anyone access to eternal life by having faith in Him.

In every situation, the source for God’s “no” is His love for us.  There are several things we can learn from this example in Gethsemane:

  1. God understands that change is hard for us. It was not sinful that Christ asked for the cup to be taken from Him.   Therefore, it is not a sin to ask for a break from suffering, but like Christ, we should be submissive to God’s plans overall.
  2. God knows suffering is…well, suffering. He realizes pain is difficult and He doesn’t expect us to like it.  It’s a sacrifice for a reason.  No grit, no pearl.
  3. Our plans don’t make God laugh. God doesn’t take joy in our suffering.  Can you imagine the anguish God felt when He had to watch His Son die on the cross?  God changes our plans because He knows sometimes difficulties are necessary for us to experience His best.
  4. God’s no is ALWAYS worth it. Christ experienced the depths of human anguish on a level we will fortunately never fully experience.  But in the end, He appeared before the disciples, his fishing buddies, and showed them the scars on his hands, with joy in His heart and the gleam of heaven in His eye.  Because of His sacrifice, we can experience that same joy in His Presence.

We’ve all been there.  Each of us had experienced times when God had said no to our dreams – when he has closed a door that we always envisioned walking through.  So often I have kicked and screamed when these times have come, pouting all the way as God ushers me to plan B.  But in reality, I eventually realize that His plans were Plan A all along, that He knew what was best, in spite of what I thought was best for me.

When I look at the blueprint, now framed in our office, I am thankful for God’s “no’s”  Whether it was the boy I shouldn’t have been dating, the career I would have been miserable in or the house that wasn’t meant to be, He knew His plans were best and loved me enough to redirect me from what I thought I wanted most.

no grit no pearl
To download this printable, check out my post DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

Where are you stuck right now?  Do you feel like God is putting up a roadblock to some area or your life?  Here are three possible reasons for God’s “no” in your life right now.

  1. Disobedience – God tells us “no” when we are not obedient to Him and His Word. Fortunately the Lord is faithful to those who return to Him.  God disciplines those He loves as a father disciplines His child in order to protect them.  Defiantly seeking things not of Him is like sticking your hand in snake den. Eventually you will get bitten and the results will be painful, if not deadly.
  2. Just Wait” – So often a “no” is really God’s way of telling us to wait either because we aren’t ready for what’s ahead or the circumstances aren’t in place yet. Be patient to see what God has in store – it’s worth the wait!
  3. NO = “My plans are better” – God only changes our plan because His path is better than what we desire. “Better” doesn’t necessarily mean “easier” but His Design will always be worthwhile.

Establishes Steps

“The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs His steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  There is nothing this world can offer greater than having the creator of the Universe lead you every step of the way.  I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.  Even in the hardest of times, we can have contentment knowing that He is our protector.

What about YOU???   What blueprints aren’t going into the construction phase?  What doors is God closing?  Pray to God about what you are experiencing and thank Him for what plans He is working on behind the scenes.

blueprints

I hope you were encouraged by my post this week!  If you would like to receive weekly updates from Renovated Faith in your inbox, click HERE.

‘Til Next Time

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The Right Way to Refinish a Rolltop Desk

Roll top desks are such classy statement pieces in any home.  It’s so rare to find one in excellent condition.  They are notorious for being difficult to paint because you can easily gunk up the tambour (rolling portion) with paint causing it not to roll at all.  If you are lucky enough to come across one, here are some tips for a successful transformation.

You Will Need:

  • Brushes and 6″ rollers
  • Wood Filler
  • Mouse Sander with low (60) and higher (180) sanding pads.
  • Zinsser 123 Primer
  • White Paint – I used Behr Ultra in Ultra White Satin
  • Base Coat for Faux Stain – I used Behr Honey Butter Flat
  • Gel Stain – I used Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut
  • New Hardware
  • Minwax Wipe-on Polyurethane.

I stumbled upon this desk on a Facebook page that a friend was selling.  This desk was perfect to redo because the top portion comes off and the tambour just slides out making it so much easier to refinish.  The desk was structurally in great shape but the surface needed some love.

Rolltop Before

I knew I was going to sell this piece so I decided to do the surface a dark stain using my gel stain method and would paint the rest white.  I realized that the plastic sleeve on both sides that the tambour slides into was already dark brown so I tried to spray paint it white to match what would be white.  Let me save a little spray paint and a lot of frustration by telling you that was a horrible idea.

Spray Paint Rolltop

The spray paint started peeling away when I moved the tambour up and down.  It looked horrible so I spent over an hour scraping the spray paint out with a putty knife.  I decided to faux stain the interior of the top to better match the plastic sleeves as there was no easy way to change their color.

Spray painting the tambour is also a horrible idea.  Ask me how I know…

I took off the hardware and filled obvious holes, scratches and dents on the desk with wood filler.

Filler

After 48 hours of drying, I sanded the entire desk with a rough sandpaper pad (60) with my mouse sander.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my sander?!? Below is a picture of the two of us!   (Also, wear a respirator or mask when sanding the wood filler because those tiny particles can get in your lungs…No bueno!)

SanderSanding

Sand the tambour by laying it out flat on the ground and sand as you would the rest of the desk.

SandingTambour

After sanding it was time to prime.  Once again I used Zinsser 123 water-based primer.  I just found out they made a spray paint  version which I will have to try out on my next project.  Get a nice thick coat of primer on your piece of furniture.  You’ll notice that I didn’t get any primer on the groove the tambour slides into.

Prime 1

After priming the rest of the desk, I laid the tambour over a round kitchen garbage can that was on it’s side.  I wanted to open up the creases so I could get primer in each crease between the wood slats.  I was able to do this with a thin coat of primer.

Prime Tambour

Get just enough primer to fill in the dark portion in between the wood slats.  Use your brush to wipe off any excess and wipe your brush on some paper if you have too much paint on your brush.  You have time to wipe off the excess before it dries.  What you don’t want is a thick layer of wet, drippy paint on the tambour or the paint will crack once it dries.  The Zinsser 123 Primer is perfect for this application because it is thin but clings well to the grooves while covering well.

prime 2

At this point, fill any remaining holes, dents or scratches on the rest of the desk.  You should now be able to see them easier with the piece primed.  Sand those parts after they are dry.

Halfway into this process, I realized  that this desk didn’t have any of the cute ‘card catalog’ style drawers that you so often see on these desks.  I decided to add some using some unfinished jewelry boxes I found online.

Jewelry Boxes 1Jewelry Boxes 2

I bought two for each side and glued them together with carpenter’s glue and clamped them overnight to dry.  I also pulled off the wooden knobs, filled the holes and then made holes for some cute pulls.  Make your holes before you paint because you don’t want to risk screwing up the final finish.  I then glued the drawers onto the inside of the desk using wax paper to ensure the glue didn’t seep onto the desk top.

Base Coat 1

 

I started painting the desk with the yellowish base coat on the places I would faux stain and used white on the rest.  It took a couple coats of white paint because the desk was so dark.

I used the same process on this desk as I did with the end tables in my post How To Gel Stain Wood  Here is a pic of the first coat of gel stain.  You want to leave some sections only partly covered in the first coat to make the second coat a little more translucent and “wood-grain-like” in those parts.

Gel Stain

Back to the tambour…While I let each coat of gel stain dry at least 24 hours, I laid the tambour flat on the concrete and added a thin coat of white.  Again brush off any excess.  It was still a little streaky at this point but you will touch that up towards the end

After the second and final gel stain coat, I added a coat of wipe-on polyurethane to the stained parts.  The nice thing about latex paint and polyurethane is that you know that in 10 years the finish will look the same and be just as durable.   Both finishes provide a clean, wipe-able surface that will not hold dirt easily.

I have a friend that did her entire kitchen cabinets in chalk paint and wax.  They looked fantastic but after only 6 months they looked awful because the porosity of the chalk paint held on to every speck of dirt and dust in her kitchen.  She ended up redoing them in latex shortly after.  (Getting off my soapbox now…)

After touching up the tambour one last time, I put the desk together including the main drawers, the top and the tiny drawers.  I also added new hardware to the whole desk including ‘card catalog’ style drawer pulls to the top drawers.  Didn’t they turn out cute?

Drawers

 

Desk Transformation

Rolltop Desk with Stained Top

Notice the concrete floors in the background.  We had a massive flood which I shared about in my post Beauty From Chaos: How to Find Peace in Any Situation.

Rolltop Desk with Closed Top

This desk was quite an undertaking but worth it to bring out the full potential of such a fabulous vintage piece.  Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out my other furniture transformations!

Writing Desk Makeover

Coffee Table Reveal and a Word About Transparency

Made Over, Inside and Out – China Cabinet Transformation

 

‘Til Next Time,

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Rolltop Desk at www.renovatedfaith.comTheRightWayToRefinishARolltopDesk

Beauty From Chaos: How to Find Peace in Any Situation

You might remember my pristine DIY Entertainment Center that I featured on the blog a couple weeks ago.  Now marred by water damaged and covered with dust, these pieces currently sit in our garage…..entertainment-center-2Last Sunday night, we woke at midnight to our daughter screaming.  I ran into the living room to check on her, sure that I would find her in the midst of some frantic search for her mermaid doll that fell off the bed.  Apparently, her mermaid not only fell off the bed but went for a swim because she picked it up to find it was covered in water – as was most of our house!

Living Room

Two inches of water from a broken toilet valve now covered most of our home.  We sloshed through soaked carpet to try to move most of our furniture into the garage.   A company came to pull out the carpet and set up industrial fans and dehumidifiers for a week.  Carpet has been pulled up from every room,  much of our furniture is in the garage and the contents of every closet was left in a huge pile in the middle of each room in order to remove carpeting.  The wind and noise from the fans only reminded me that the state of our house was now a swirl of chaos.

For someone who likes to surround myself with order, beauty and solitude, my home quickly became a wet, concrete-laden, obstacle course of wet furniture, carpet tacks and confusion.

I had some unfinished furniture pieces in our garage and decided I needed to finish them up to make extra room.  I pulled a half-completed secretary into our living room (aka ground zero) to touch up.  This was a piece I worked on for my friend Rebecca to use as her daughter’s desk.

Secretary before

I began put the hardware on the secretary and soon a peace came over me.  The drawers had been strewn all over the house as I waited for them to dry.  It was no nice to see them finally come together to make something beautiful. I am reminded that in spite of chaos, God’s peace can still reign in our heart’s and minds – not matter the mess, no matter the struggles or disaster that surrounds us.

Priscilla’s Shirer’s The Armor of God is a Bible study that brings to light the spiritual warfare that surrounds us on a daily basis and how to combat it.  In it she states:

“Anywhere peace is lacking you can be sure the enemy is at work.”

Peace

This quote stopped me in my tracks.  I realized that my heart felt as chaotic as our household because I was allowing Satan’s lies and deception to steal my joy and contentment.

I was blaming my discontent on the state of our house but, in reality, the peace that God gives is not as the world gives. Just because I was surrounded by disorder, my heart can be calm because God can be trusted with even the messiest of situations.

The Lord recognizes that we will have hard times, but God’s overwhelming peace has the capacity to give you rest in the most turbulent of circumstances. 

So many times I have read Philippians 4:6-7.  It is a well-known verse that commonly adorns coffee mugs, picture frames and refrigerator magnets.  Unfortunately, when it comes to this verse, I often confuse familiarity with apathy.

Do Not Be Anxious

 

This is one of those powerful verses that the enemy would love for us to forget.

But how do we really experience God’s peace in the midst of horrible circumstances? 

Priscilla points out that this verse is intrinsically tied to Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

When we make a conscience effort to pray with thanksgiving, instead of allowing anxiety to rule our thoughts and emotions, we are expressing a firm trust in God and His care for us.  By taking this step in faith with thanksgiving, we are affirming that God has the capacity to overcome anything that life brings.

This is the key to unlocking the peace that so often alludes us…

As Priscilla Shirer says, “This kind of faith catches His attention and He response by activating His peace within us – a peace that will not only guard but also guide us by helping us to discern the direction God is leading us to take in our lives.  Note the progression: trust leads to thankfulness and gratitude activates peace.”

As I wrote in 7 Tips To Find Your Calling, let your fears and anxieties become a reminder that you have something to bring before the Lord in prayer.  When we trust our situation to God by submitting our concerns in prayer and thanksgiving, He will be faithful to release His peace in our lives.  Before you know it you will to see the beauty of his plans even in the midst of chaos.

My prayer is that your every anxious thought would filter through this truth leaving you with the peace that only He can give.

Even in the aftermath of the flood, I was able to complete this secretary.  If you look closely, you can see concrete floors in the background.  What a testimony to how God brings beauty from ashes, growth from decay, and hope from destruction.

aquagraysecretary

secretary2

Enjoy some of the pictures of the finished secretary!  If you liked this post, you might also like:

DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

When Anxiety Knocks and God Answers, Part 1

‘Til Next Time,

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When Peace is Lacking

 

DIY Entertainment Center (without building a thing!)

When we moved into our house a year ago, I realized we would need a better solution to fill this large wall in our living room.  A small TV stand wasn’t going to cut it.   I needed an entertainment center with some shelves so the space wouldn’t look so barren.

before

I looked at several media centers in furniture stores but they just weren’t my style and most were a few thousand dollars.   I needed a sleek, inexpensive solution to fill a large amount of wall space.

At one of the furniture stores, I stumbled upon this dresser in the “scratch and dent” section of the store.  At the time I purchased the dresser, it went on clearance for $300, less than half the original price!  It had a few scratches and one broken knob – I figured I’ve rehabed much worse!

scratch-and-dent-dresser

I realized I would need something on each end so I found these shelves at Target.  I liked the way the molding and the legs were very similar to those on the dresser.

target-bookcase

I have a deck of Behr paint swatches and found the color that best matched the white of the dresser.  Who knew there could be so many shades of white?!  I used that paint to touch up the scratches on the dresser and also paint the shelves.  (I used Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer before painting since the shelves were so dark.)  This picture gives you an idea of what the shelves looked like with just one coat of primer.  It really made all the difference!

IMG_2689.JPG

To help the bookcases and dresser to coordinate, I bought new knobs for both pieces.  I spray painted the existing dresser pulls and new knobs in Rustoleum Universal in Iron Rubbed Bronze.

hardware

The back of the bookcases was laminate and it was pretty obvious because of the big seam down the middle.  I decided to cover the backs in bead board wallpaper to give it added texture and character.

beadboard-wallpaper

If you haven’t used Martha Stewart’s bead board wallpaper, it’s a pretty great product.  It looks identical to bead board and is very easy to install and paint.  I wouldn’t recommend it for super high-traffic areas like a mudroom by an entry door, but it is excellent anywhere else.  (There’s a bead board wallpaper tutorial to come!)

I decided to paint the wallpaper in Behr Sonata, the same color as the backing of my China Cabinet.  This color coordinates really well with navy and it’s one of my favorites!media-center-after

Next I had to decide how to fill my new shelves!  The nice thing about bookcases is that you can easily change the feel of a room by how you accessorize them.

Now I guess I have more of a traditional, nautical feel but it would be super easy to change out a few items to give it another style.

 

My favorite accessory is this framed quote, something my late grandfather carried around in his wallet.  My mother found it after he passed away: “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong.  Sometime in life you will have been all these.”

baba

He was such an example of godly character and his life personified this saying as He was always kind and considered others as better than himself.  So much I have learned from him has affected how I parent my daughter as I posted in Leaving a Legacy of Faith.

 

 

before-and-after

 

I’m very pleased with my “entertainment center”.  I was able to customize it specifically to my needs and the bead board wallpaper added some extra character and color.  This was a fun project and a much better alternative than our little TV stand.

If you like this project you may also like:

Light and Airy Master Bathroom Makeover

DIY Faux Painted Sign Tutorial with 15 Free Scripture Printables

 

If you would like to receive my posts in your inbox once a week, subscribe HERE.

‘Til Next Time,

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*As usual, there are no affiliate links in this post.

without-building-a-thing

 

DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

The farmhouse style of painted signs are such a warm addition to any room. However, if free-handing lettering on a sign isn’t exactly your cup of tea, know there’s an easy and inexpensive work-around for lettered wall art.

diy-painted-signs

Many stores are selling these thin wood frames that are reminiscent of the stained wood borders of the painted signs you see around.  I have noticed them at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and even Walmart.  I happened to find my frames at Target for $3.99 each!

faux-painted-signs

Here’s what you need:

  • Thin wood frame
  • White card stock
  • Matte Mod Podge
  • Scissors

Download and Print

Print each sign on letter-size card stock using the link below.   The heavier the card stock, the better.

If you want a sign larger than 8 x 10, download the file and convert it to a jpg file using a free file converter like zamzar.com.  (This will allow you to get a higher resolution image needed for larger signs.)  For Zamzar, go to the Convert Tab and select the image you want to download and select “jpg” in the drop down menu for File Type.

I promise it’s super easy and the jpg file will come to you in your inbox.  From there,  you can print a larger copy online (I like Walgreens.com) or take it to a copy store.  Make sure it is printed on matte paper in order to get the painted sign effect.

mod-podge

Add Mod Podge

After the printer ink has dried, lay your printed paper on a sheet on a flat surface.  Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the area within the gray line.  Let it dry completely.  If the paper curls some, it will straighten when it dries and you can lay a book on it overnight.

We will not use the glass in the frame, so the Mod Podge protects the art from humidity and gives it a painted look.  This is probably the only time you’ll use Mod Podge that you want brushstrokes!

cut

Cut and Frame

Then, cut along the gray line.  Take the glass out of your frame before framing your art and you are done!  It looks just like a painted sign for a fraction of the cost.

 

As a thank you to my email subscribers, HERE is the link to all 15 free Scripture Verse Printables!   Be sure to subscribe to Renovated Faith by email in order to get the password.

If you are already a subscriber, check your inbox for the “Please Confirm Your Subscription” email or email me at RenovatedFaith@gmail.com.  I’d be happy to help!

signs

If you like this post you might also like:

Light and Airy Master Bath Makeover

Sit A Spell : The Value of Spending Time With The One Who Made It

Be sure to comment below to share your favorite printable above!

‘Til Next Time,

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Writing Desk Makeover

When I stumbled on this antique writing desk, I knew it had incredible potential.  The previous owner has painted portions of it in gold acrylic paint.  This piece took a lot of sanding with my sander to repair some water damage on the top but the results are well worth the process.

before-desk

I’m pleasantly surprised with the outcome as it doesn’t look like the same table.  I also refinished and covered a chair to match.

www-renovatedfaith-com-21

As mentioned, there was an incredible amount of sanding that had to be done on this piece before coating it in Zinnser’s Bullseye 123 water-based primer.  I painted it on and it was dry in 30 minutes.

faith-7

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I then put on my first coat of blue paint.  I mixed a few colors I had to get just the right shade but it is almost identical to Behr’s Sonata Blue, except maybe a tad grayer.  After the first coat, I sanded the piece lightly with a fine grit sanding pad on my mouse sander.  Then, I added my last coat of blue with some floetrol mixed in to reduce brush strokes.

I thought this desk would be an ideal piece in someone’s living room or bedroom  as a small work space that was still inviting.  My friend Katie bought this piece for her bedroom to do just that.

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I also recovered the chair I painted to match, adding upholstery trim to give it an extra pop.  Miss Mustard Seed would be so proud!

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I couldn’t find a drawer liner I liked so I used this Waverly fabric instead.  I ironed it with lots of spray starch.  After cutting it to size, I attached it to the drawer with Elmer’s spray glue.

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What stands out to me about this project was the massive amount of sanding that had to be done before I started priming or painting.  I used my Ryobi sander which made the task much easier.  The top had some water stains and I had to let the desk sit in my garage a few weeks to make sure it was dried out.  Then, I put on my respirator and started sanding off the damage until I could see a fresh, even wood surface.  Here is a picture of said water damage and also how the surface looked when I finished.

I spent so much time sanding but I knew there was no way around this excruciating task.  To achieve its beautiful finish, a process had to take place.  Rushing the process or skipping over steps would be a detriment to the finished product.  Although painful (especially to my sander), this was a step that had to be endured.

In my last post on Goal Setting, I stated that development is a necessary part of the process.  If you are waiting for God to work in your life for something you’ve always dreamed, know that He already is.  He has not forgotten you and your current phase in life.   Although difficult, your current waiting game  and stage of development is vital to see His plan come to fruition.

He knows what we need to learn and where we need to grow.  That often comes with some sanding but He also knows the end result is worthwhile.

If you have been waiting for God to bring about His Plans, know that the “when” is just as important as the “what”.  There is nothing worse than being where God wants you to be before you are truly ready.

Know this period of sanding is just for a time.  This too shall pass.  For this season, rely on what He has shown you and trust Him for He hasn’t yet.

‘Til Next Time,

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God’s Reaction When We “Just Show Up”

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Hardly Pinterest-worthy is the picture above.  In my meager attempts to live a shiny, compartmentalized, ‘I’ve got it under control’ kind of life, I often forget what’s most important.

This post was going to include a recipe for Stove-top Potpourri and explain ways to get to know your neighbors during the holiday season, and it still is…sort of.   When trying out the recipe, God showed me in greater depths how he wants me to engage with Him and others.

After realizing I cut the orange “wrong”, and that my lemons were too moldy to use, I noticed a sad, crusty French fry from last night’s gourmet dinner on the stove.   Although some might see this picture as a Pinterest-fail, I was reminded that this is still a beautiful picture in God’s eyes.

In 1 John, the apostle starts out by saying, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest and we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.”

The word manifest means “clear, obvious.”  With every sense, God wanted us to recognize the truth of who He is – that He sent His son out of His great love from us to deliver us from sin.  God made clear the truth of Christ by engaging us on every level.  He made his truth evident by sight, sound and even touch. 

When the disciples saw that Jesus filled their nets with fish, when the woman was healed after touching His robe and when a little girl was brought back from death upon Jesus only hearing her story, Jesus made it clear that He wants to engage with us on every level possible.  Notice that He didn’t wait until these people had their act together or got well, He engaged with them at the time of their greatest need.  God wants us to come to Him as we are.  He doesn’t care that we don’t have it all together (and no one does), He just wants us to show up and to seek to engage with Him.

The picture of my Stovetop Potpourri will never make it on the pages of a magazine, but it still counts.  I still “showed up.”  It brings glory to God in that He knows my heart’s intent to build relationships with my neighbors to hopefully be a vehicle for His love.   He doesn’t care that the process wasn’t perfect.  Your Heavenly Father doesn’t want you “clean yourself up” before presenting your requests to Him.  He wants to engage you in your greatest time of need and come as you are.  He is delighted when His children “just show up”!

The same can be said in how we engage with others.  A couple months ago, I didn’t take a rare opportunity to talk to my neighbor because my hair wasn’t done and I wasn’t wearing makeup.  Ironically, sometimes the things that we try to hide from others are the things that can form a bridge to connect on an interpersonal level.  Often when others see that we care more about them instead of maintaining appearances, it makes us more approachable and so much more real.  In making an effort to be transparent, perhaps our next conversation won’t be just be a quick exchange of pleasantries, but an opportunity to engage in real conversation.

God wants us to be transparent about the depths from which He has saved us.  Thankfully, He doesn’t want us to engage with him as a sterile, June Cleaver, ‘my lipstick is always on’ version of ourselves and neither do our neighbors.

God longs to engage your every sense in such a way that we are no longer focused on how we are perceived but only on how HE is perceived by others through us.  God does not require us to be perfect but He simply wants us to be presence.  He wants us to be real with others about the difficult and pain that life brings, knowing that God can heal our every wound and alleviate every fear.

As in 2 Corinthians 2:15, may we be the “pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”  The reality of ourselves might not always be pretty but there is an opportunity for others to see His love when the abundance of His all-sufficient love meets our insufficiency.  Don’t forget the power in just showing up.

 

Stove Top Potpourri Recipe

  • 1 orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 T. whole cloves
  • ¼ c. cranberries

Use this download to make your own labels for your neighbors.  I tied them with baker’s twine and my daughter and I had fun putting them in each neighbor’s mailbox!

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JOY Wreath Tutorial

Our women’s ministry at church had an event that included Christmas cookies, a hot cocoa bar and also some craft projects.  Guess who volunteered to be in charge of said crafts!?

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Every lady had the option to make a JOY wreath and customize it with various decor including berries, glitter feathers, snowflakes and polka dots!  The wreaths were a big hit and were a quick and easy project for a large group.

What You Need:

  • “Wood” Letters  – The cheapest I found were the 9″composite letters at Hobby Lobby at $2.38 each.  They go on sale every four few months so you can get them even cheaper.
  • 10″ Grapevine Wreath – I found them at Consumercrafts.com at $1.47 each.
  • Hot Glue Gun and several hot glue sticks
  • Fishing line
  • Spray Paint
  • Decorative Sprigs, Snowflakes, etc.
  • Optional: Vinyl stick-on polka dots – I got mine at amazon.com

The total cost was $7.00 and we just asked women pay $5.00 to offset the costs.

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After gathering my supplies, I spray painted the letters with flat white spray paint and sanded when needed.  After they dried for 48 hours, I started gluing the letters to the wreath.

Put your J face down and put a large amount of hot glue at the bottom. Place your wreath on top and press down firmly.

 

Do the same with the top of the Y. Add hot glue again and press the wreath down.  Make sure the J,O and Y are in a straight line before the glue cools completely.  It will take a few minutes for that much glue to cool.  Add more glue if needed to make sure the letters are attached well to the wreath.

 

While the glue continues to cool, put a big glob of  glue at the top back of the J on the X that is marked  Stick the knotted end of a small piece of fishing line into the glue.  Let it cool completely before you turn your wreath over.

 

Trim the end of your picks with the wire cutter and hot glue them into the wreath.

 

All 30 women had a great time making their wreaths and were able to each add their personal touch.  It was such a versatile and easy craft that anyone can do and we still managed to stay on budget.

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Another craft option at the event was the Nativity Ornaments from last week’s post.  Next week I’ll post a neighbor gift idea and some things God showed me about how to better engage with my neighbors.

‘Til Next Time,

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DIY Nativity Christmas Ornament

As I turn a sharp corner from the tasks of Thanksgiving, I’m met head-on by another rapidly growing to-do list.  My focus on Christmas cards, gift ideas, decorations, and teacher gifts so easily clouds my intention to focus on Christ this holiday season.

Why do I struggle most with finding time to spend with God during the holidays?   How ironic that the word “holiday” actually means “Holy Day” – a time set a side to remember and meditate on the gift of His Love that came in an unlikely manner to an unlovable people.

This year, my prayer is to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and to do away with anything that takes the spotlight off of Christ and His birth.  Maybe that means not doing Christmas cards this year or that many the people on my gift list get gift cards.  Maybe I buy my desserts this year (gasp!).  It’s ok to let some things go if it means having time to relish the joy  this season brings.

What are your biggest distractions?  What tasks do you need to distance yourself from this Christmas in order to grow closer to Him?  What items on your to-do list are life-draining and which are life-giving?  Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your awareness of God’s promised presence this Christmas season.

I like to surround myself with decor that reminds me of the true focus of this time of year – that over 2,000 years ago a baby was born to be a messenger of salvation and love to a lost world.  One such item is this Nativity Ornament.  It is such an easy craft to make with your kids but also a classy addition to your tree.

Here is what you need from any craft store:

4″ grapevine wreath

3/4 inch wood ball

White card stock

Silver glitter scrapbook paper

Gauze

1 inch piece of a dowel rod (1/2 inch diameter)

Silver glitter (optional)

twine or yarn (optional)

Hot Glue Gun

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First,  print and cut out the “Adore Him” banner on white card stock with this download.  Be careful to cut just inside the gray line of the banner

Next, use the same file to print the star stencil.  Cut out the star on card stock and use it as a stencil by tracing it on the back of the silver glitter scrapbook paper.  Cut out your star.

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Adhere your star to the top of the wreath with hot glue.  Then, add a small amount of hot glue to the back of the banner and attach it to the star.

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Now, take the round ball and hot glue it to the dowel rod piece like so.  (I cut off a small piece of dowel rod with a trim saw.)  Use plenty of hot glue and don’t worry if it is visible because we will cover that part with the gauze.

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Cut two four-inch squares of gauze and fold them over to make a rectangle.  Hot glue the baby in the middle, positioned so the gauze just covers the glue on the neck.  Wrap the gauze around Baby Jesus and secure it with more hot glue.

At this point you can sprinkle some glitter over the outside of the swaddle.  The glitter will get stuck in the gauze well enough that you don’t need glue.

Use a generous amount of hot glue to secure it to the wreath.  Finally, add a piece of twine at the top or just a hook and it’s ready for the tree!

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Now, you have a cute nativity ornament to help you to remember the present of His presence this holiday season.

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Be sure to subscribe to the blog as next week we will make the JOY wreath below!

 

‘Til Next Time,

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