You know that I love Ikea, right? It’s really hard to pick my absolute favorite part at Ikea, but the Handyman’s Corner is right there at the top of the list.
It is where they keep all the scratch and dent type of items but they also have a big section that is full of extra doors and shelves and the ends of dressers and what not, in just about any size you can imagine.
When I was there a few weeks ago, I found this large white piece that I am guessing might have been a cabinet door? It measures almost 24 inches by 40 inches and it is glossy white. The only problem with it is that one corner is just a tiny bit scratched, but I had to look long and hard just to find the flaw.
Anyway, it was $7.00. I know, right? How could I pass it up?
I have also really been in love with all things chalkboard lately so I decided that this would be the PERFECT surface to turn into a chalk board and the whole project could not have been any easier.
Honestly, waiting for the chalkboard spray paint to dry was the most time consuming part of the whole process.
To get started, I used blue painters tape to tape off all the ares where I did NOT want my chalkboard spray paint to go. I didn’t even have to measure or use a ruler to make a straight edge for this part because I just used the center part of the panel, so all my lines were already made for me.
And from there, it was time for the chalkboard paint. I have used both brush on and spray paint before, but I decided that the spray paint would be best for this application because of how large of surface I needed to cover. I used Krylon Chalk Board spray paint that I got at WalMart for right around $3.00 and I applied 4 coats of it, allowing each coat to dry about an hour or so in between. The directions say to apply 2 coats, but I know from experience that 2 coats is never enough if you want to be able to erase your writing and use it again multiple times. After the last coat, I let it dry for 24 hours before moving on.
Once your paint has set for at least 24 hours, you have to “season” the board before it is ready to use. It may sound fancy or tricky, but basically it just means you rub the chalk all over the board to completely cover the surface, then wipe it back off again.
After that, you are done! I told you it was simple.
Here is my finished project that I have on the mantle above our fireplace. It is perfect for the large space and I was able to lean it up against the stone wall, so know drilling or screws were involved. I am so excited to be able to use this year round and when I get tired of it, I am out about $10 total. I call that a win.
I am so excited to finally announce the dates and projects for the Summer Pinterest Party. A huge THANK YOU to all of you who took the survey to help me pick the projects. I must say, you picked my favorite 3! So here they are:
Painted Mason Jars
I am so in love with these! I can think of about 100 different ways that I want to use them. Each person will get to make three jars. The pictures below are just a few examples of how you could make yours.
Wooden Picture Frame With Bow
I knew that you would all love this as much as I did when I saw it. I will have a variety of paints and stains for you to pick from as well as tons of ribbon and fabrics for the bow. Each person will make one frame.
Maybe you recognize these two handsome boys
Summer Banner and Wreath
This might be my favorite out of all of them! Each person will make one banner and one wreath. The banners can be made with the brown paper sacks or white ones. I made mine to say “Summer” but this would also look cute in a 4th of July theme or a Beach theme. I will have all the paper, washi tape, buttons, ribbon….. you name it, I will have it!
Once again, I will be having a party on Saturday and Sunday so you can pick the one that fits best with your schedule. I have also picked projects that are a bit quicker to finish, so you should be able to complete all three in about 3 hours, maybe even less.
The cost is $20.00 to make all three projects.
Please bring your favorite Pinterest food dish or dessert to share.
I told you last week about a cause that I feel incredibly passionate about called More Love Letters. In addition to leaving random letters in places to be found by strangers who need to know that they are loved and that they matter, there is also an opportunity to send letters to a specific person.
People can nominate another person to receive a bundle of love letters by sharing just a bit about that person’s current situation. I’ve written to teenage girls who need to know that they will never be defined by belonging to groups that they will never belong to. I’ve written to people who are fighting a chronic illness and who will soon be exchanging their tired and weary and sick bodies for one that has been made new. I’ve written to college seniors and armed forces veterans and single moms and widows. I’ve written to wish happy birthdays and to celebrate anniversaries of sobriety.
The other day I was writing a letter to a high school girl who was nominated by a family member because she was having a hard time fitting in at school and making friends was difficult. She was being made fun of, made to feel less than enough and all I wanted her to know was that those kids were wrong. That when they look at her and see anything other than a girl that was created in the image of her Creator, they are wrong. When they can’t see past the exterior to see her heart, it’s because they haven’t looked hard enough. I wanted to tell her to hang on and to hang in there and to hold her head up. I wanted to tell her that she mattered. That she was special. I wanted to tell her to just be her, because she is amazing. In fact, that was what I was doodling out when Luke came into the kitchen.
He asked me what I was doing and I explained it briefly and then, in 8 year old boy kind of honest, he asked me a question.
“How do you know?”
I wasn’t really sure what he meant at first, so I asked him and what he wanted to know was how I knew she was amazing. What he wanted to know was, if I’ve never met this girl, how could I possibly know that all of these great things that I had just written were actually true of her.
And in that moment my heart broke because I realized that, at 8 years old, life has already modeled for our boy that things like love and honor and respect are conditional. At some point he has watched me treat someone in the way that their behavior deserved instead of treating them in light of who they really were. And way more than once he has heard me speak of someone in words that were anything but uplifting and I’ve wrapped insults and remarks that cut deep into someone’s character with the disguise of “just telling the truth”.
So when he asked me how it was that I could know that this girl mattered, that she was deserving of love and that she was given a heart so that she could use it love others, I told him the only thing that I could think of that would possibly make sense to him, that she was all of those things because he was all of those things.
I told him that just as I believed that God created him to do incredible things, I believed that for her, too. I told him that it’s impossible to really believe one without the other.
And then I told him something that I frequently forget myself. I told him that I believe those things to be true of him and of her, because I believe them to be true of myself.
And the truth is, I believe that for you, too. I believe that you were dreamed about and thought about and planned for before you ever came to be. I believe that you were born with a heart that is innately good.
I believe that you were created to do incredible things. To do really loud things and really quiet things and things that will change the whole world and things that will wholly change just one person’s world.
I believe those things about that teenage girl, whom I’ll never meet and lives hundreds of miles from me, I believe those things for my own boys, whom I’d walk to the ends of this earth for, and I believe them to be true for you.
And what I didn’t say to him but I’ve been saying over and over again to myself is that more than believing this to be true, I need to live like it is.
Maybe today you are the one that needs to hear it. You need to hear that you matter. That you are loved. That this world needs you. That you have a voice that needs to be heard. That God is for you. That we are for you.
And maybe today instead of you needing to be reminded, there is someone who’s path you will cross that needs you to remind them.
Today, be you because you are amazing.
Today is World Autism Awareness Day, but to the families of the 700,000+ people around the world with Autism, it’s just Wednesday.
For those of us who live the life of the 1 in 68, we don’t need to be made more aware. Today people will speak of us and to us and some, like Autism Speaks, will even try to speak for us. Blue lights will be flipped on and money will be raised and a call to action will be repeated, and to be honest, even though my whole heart disagrees with those like Suzanne Wright, we will gladly accept the spotlight, even if it’s just for a few hours in the middle of our week.
But to us, it will still just be a Wednesday. A day that will be full of struggles, oh believe me we will struggle, but it will also be full of so many incredible successes. And my hope is that instead of listening to someone try to speak for Autism, we would be able to hear Autism speak.
On this Wednesday, somewhere, because of the work of parents and therapists and people who have devoted their whole lives to helping an autistic child to find their voice, a parent will hear their child speak for the very first time. And still others won’t. There are parent’s all over who will never give up hope that those words will come, but who will move forward anyway, constantly finding new ways to connect with their kids. For those parents, the celebrating might not come on this Wednesday, but it will come.
Today in Autism centers and public schools and living rooms, a child on the spectrum will do something that they couldn’t do on Tuesday and while others who haven’t experienced a child with autism might look on and feel saddened by how long it has taken or overwhelmed by the long list of all the things that child still can’t do, those parents will celebrate. And there will still be more work to be done. More milestones to achieve. There will always be more that can be done, but we don’t measure our lives by how far we still have to go, but by how far we have come.
Today, a teenager on the spectrum will sit around a lunch table at school and laugh and make jokes and do all the things that teenagers do. It will be harder for them than other kids, having to concentrate on making sure they are noticing the social cues and figuring out when to speak and when to listen, but they will do it. And tonight at the dinner table, just like lots of other teenagers, they won’t gush on and on about it, but the evidence of their success will be written on their face.
This Wednesday, just like the ones before, will be filled with high fives and hugs and stickers and smiles . Facebook messages and Instagram pictures and Skype’s will go out all around this big round globe by parents who don’t want you to recognize us on this day for missing pieces to an already broken puzzle, but who want to shout about their kid’s accomplishments from the roof tops.
And, if even for even just a few seconds, all of us who have been there will stand up on our chairs and we will cheer and clap and celebrate with them. Just like they say it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to raise a child with Autism and in this village, we celebrate often.
I guess I can understand why someone like Suzanne Wright would think that our situations are bleak. That we are broken. That as parents we feel only despair. I guess I can understand why she would speak of our kids as those who are hopelessly lost, those who are gravely ill. I guess that maybe it’s just that in trying to lead Autism Speaks, she forgot to listen.
On this Wednesday, Autism will speak.
It will speak of celebrations and victories and milestones and dreams that even the most brilliant of minds couldn’t fathom. It will speak of stories of children and teenagers and adults who will never, ever accept that different means less than or not enough of. It will speak of community. It will speak of passion. It will speak with a voice that can be heard and with a voice that sometimes can only sometimes be seen.
To the rest of the world who looks on, thank you for seeing us today. Thank you for taking a second to stop and notice us for all the things that we are. And maybe tomorrow, when the blue lights have been turned off and the world is on to recognizing someone else on their special day, come and sit with us awhile. Spend some time with us out of the spotlight because, after all, our kids don’t need it to shine.