Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Comparison | The thief of joy

1. The act of being comparing  2. The state of being compared 
 3. Capability of being compared or likened

I struggle with this.  I think if we can be all perfectly honest with each other, we all might struggle with this in some shape or form.  If we aren't careful, we can start down this dangerous path that everyone is somehow better than we are.  I see it EVERYwhere.  The world in which we live, where one can instantly click a button and see how successful everyone else is.  A society where all of our lives are front and center for us to compare what we aren't doing right, or how many less followers we have than our other friends or colleagues.   

We were all created with unique gifts.  You could be a designer, a writer, a musician, a stay at home mother, a photographer, a teacher…. Whatever you do, it is YOUR gift…YOUR calling

My friend Sallisha is an amazing woman. She is so full of joy and authentic beauty that if you saw her across a room, you would be instantly drawn to her infectious personality.  This last month, her husband and her, along with seven of her closet friends and spouses went on a vacation.  The kind of vacation where you spend you're ENTIRE day in a swimsuit.  If that's not a opportunity for major comparison..I don't know what is!

All the woman are incredibly diverse and  SO different.  Among them are business owners, stay at home mothers, athletes, nurses, teachers, authors, teachers, pageant winners, etc., but instead of comparing each other, they embrace each other's strengths and love each other unconditionally.

I asked her what words of wisdom she had to offer all of us woman who struggle with comparison.
She replied, "Incredible joy is found in friendships free of comparison, free of competition.  Here, victories are celebrated, hardships mourned, shortcomings embraced…and true transparency are secure and safe." 

Let's learn to love each other BECAUSE of our DIFFERENCES….not in spite of them!  

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Going back to my roots | Why I struggle with Design

Last week I went back to the area I grew up in.  My daughter had a photo shoot and I had some time to kill.  We happened to be near the neighborhood I grew up in, so I thought it would be fun to show our other kids the home I had spent most of my childhood in.  I never expected it to bring back such a flood of memories. The homes around it had all changed color, and yet ours looked the same. I sat for a moment and reminded myself of how far God has brought us.  It was just the three of us back then, and my mom was the only parent I ever knew.  While she worked hard to provide for us, we had many moments of financial uncertainty.  Not knowing where your next meal would come from, or if you would lose your home because you’re unable to pay rent is a scary world for a child. 

We didn’t have a plush bedroom. There were no beautifully painted walls, perfectly placed artwork, or expensive looking light fixtures. We slept on a mattress that sat on the floor, in the basement, surrounded by cement block walls.   Cobwebs hung from the unfinished ceilings and we were within arm’s length from both the washer/dryer and garage door. We mixed boxes of powdered milk and ate whatever meals we could afford. I have vivid memories of people leaving boxes of food at our door.  To this day, I have no idea who left them, but I’m certain that God brought them there and we were never hungry.  My mom was a wonderful provider for us often sewing us clothes so we had something “new” to wear.  And though we had little, our faith, family, and love made life ok. 

As a designer, I struggle with my past and present life.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE design, but I struggle with the reality that many don’t even have a home to call their own. They worry less about what the perfect shade of color should be for their room and more about where their next meal will come from.  They are concerned about their children having a warm bed to sleep in and less about what fabric will go on the windows… A far cry from the design life I live where the money flows abundantly and people get upset when their furnishings don’t arrive exactly when expected.

Through my very humble beginnings, I believe God gave me an appreciation for all things beautiful.  The beautiful times we spent around our table, sharing a meal that someone else brought gave me a heart to serve others.  The simple trips we took up to the North Shore bonding as a family; my sister, and mom taught me how important family is… even if it meant just sitting around a bonfire and roasting marshmallow’s.  The little things we owned gave me an appreciation for seeing the potential in older things and making them new again.  The outfits my mom sewed for us, and the idea of creating something out of nothing would become a lifelong skill I would not soon forget. 

So friends, if this is your story, know that I understand.  I get what it’s like to be moving from rental to rental.  I know what it’s like to be cold at night and live where there isn’t an endless supply of food, but I also know what it’s like to be provided for.  It will be several more years before I knew what it was like to have a home to call our own, but even in the darkest of times, I was able to look around and find something beautiful. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I was nominated for a LIEBSTER award!!!!

Hey guys!  One of my biggest fans/fellow bloggers nominated me for the Liebster Award!!  Being really new in the blogging world, I actually had no idea what this was, so I did what any normal person does and "googled" it!  Apparently, it is given to up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers who deserve some recognition and support to keep up blogging, as well as to spread the word about other great blog sites!  Well, whatever it is, I'll take it!  I'm honored that Diypassion nominated me, and I love sharing other's talents and creativity!

  1. What do you like most about blogging?  

 I love the creative outlet.  I love seeing the before's and after's on paper.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment =)  

    2.  What do you find to be the most challenging thing about blogging?
Definitely the time it takes to post, edit, and write a post.  I am naturally not a creative writer, so                   while I have lots of creative ideas, I struggle with the reality that many may not find an ounce of interest in what I have to say!

    3.  How do you explain your hobby to people when they ask what you do?

The Divine Living Space is a business first and foremost,  so the "hobby" part is how I decorate my own space.  I thrift for myself, but not for other clients.  I create, sew, and DIY for myself because I would get extremely bored if I didn't.  I love creating something out of nothing, and love a great deal.   We live in a climate that is cold 9 months out of the year so I would go INSANE if I didn't have "projects" and a "hobby!"

    4.  What is your worst DIY fail you've ever had?

Oh my word.  This is so embarrassing, because it's the one time I was trying to save a client money for her space by tackling something myself.  It was VERY early on in my business and my client lived in an executive home on a prestigious golf course.  The client wanted an organic, earthy feel for some containers above her cabinets in the kitchen.  I decided one of the said containers would be filled with acorns.  It was fall and we lived where the oak trees were abundant.  So I did what anyone might do… I collected hundreds of little acorns and proudly put them in a glass container above her cabinets in the kitchen on display! Raise your hand if you know what happens to acorns without properly "drying them out?"  A couple weeks later, my client called and said her containers were "crawling!"  To my complete and utter horror, those little worms that live inside acorns had come out of their shell.  Her container IN HER KITCHEN mind you was alive!  This could have been the end to my business right there.  Thankfully, she had a sense of humor, and to this day we are still friends….

     5. Who has been the greatest influence in your life in terms of creativity?  

Who remember's Trading Spaces?  It was the show when two families received $1,000 and got to redo their neighbors house.  It ran for 8 years from 2000-2008, but I only remember the first couple of years.  It was chalked full of inspiration, and it inspired me to look outside the box in terms of design, and I still have this book in my "library!"  

     6.  If you could have a dinner party with you and five other guests, 
         who would they be and why?

I don't have five, selfishly I only have one.  That's because I would want this person all to myself.  Last year, I lost my grandma.  She was extremely inspirational in my life growing up.  She was the best gardener, cook, and seamstress I've ever known.  My sister and I spent summers with my grandparents, but I never learned any of her ways because I wasn't interested.  I was always the social, adventurous child that was more interested in social gatherings than learning to cook, garden, or sew.   Seven years before she passed away she had a major, life changing stroke.  It left her unable to walk, unable to use her left hand, and she struggled to even communicate at times.  If I could have her back for even a day I would sit patiently by her side while she gave me a crash course in homemaking.  

     7. What's the one place in the world you haven't visited, but would love to see?

There are quite a few places in the world I have never been, but would dream of going.  Really anywhere in the Mediterranean…where the water is teal and the sands are white.  

    8.  Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?

Definitely sweets.  They are my downfall.  I love anything from chocolate, to sour patch kids and everything in between!!!!

    9.  Is white chocolate really chocolate?  

I don't think so?  I don't like white chocolate at all, so I would say N-O

  10.  If we were in a parallel universe, what would your job be? 
        As in, what's the one job you think you could've done, but didn't pursue?

Those of you who know me, know that I'm a science major turned designer.  I was whole heartily pursuing a career as a physician, but God had other plans.  My favorite job was working in the ER (at one of the trauma centers in the Twin Cities).  I loved the face paced, always changing environment, but didn't love the schedule.  I was working towards my dream job while parenting a one and a half year old.  When I got pregnant with my second, a serious medical condition landed me on bed rest for three whole months.  After taking some time off while nursing a preemie back to health, I realized that my plans may have not lined up with God's.  He opened up a design opportunity and I would have never dreamed of having.  I love the flexibility of my job, and my passion for creating and appreciating all things beautiful is a gift I don't take for granted.

   11. What's your favorite knock - knock joke?  

I am horrible at jokes…at telling them that is. I usually laugh before I hit the punch line.  My daughter's friend tweeted this one the other day and it totally cracked me up. Especially since this winter, we are literally living the real Frozen movie!   

Knock - knock.  
"Who's there?" 
"You who?"  
You - who, big summer blowout….

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Big Girl Room on a Small Budget; My Thrifted Finds!

Our little girls room is FINALLY done!  She moved into her big girl bed and boy, was she ECSTATIC!

The whole vision of the room came from this stellar deal on the headboard pictured below. I found at our local flea market for $25.00!!!!!  I had been eying this spindle bed… and as you can see, I saved a boat load of money!  

The curtains are from her baby nursery that I just reused and added some matching fabric on the bottom along with the pom pom fringe:

I found this guy at a garage sale for $2! 

 It had a certain 1970's flair, but I knew I could jazz it up with some paint… Here's a picture right after I painted it (notice the gold dipped legs I added)

Of course she needed a girlie light. Thankfully, Ikea had a little bling that fit our budget perfectly!

The fabric banner was a super, simple fabric sewn DIY.  My daughter and her friend helped me cut out the triangles.  I just sewed it to a piece of flat trim.  (I have no idea what the official name of it is).

Are you ready for the best part?  Her art wall… ALL THE ART WAS FREE!!!! Well, almost. 
      Here's the rundown:
  • The two painted pieces are original art painted by non other than our little 3 year old.  
  • The quotes? I created in pic monkey and printed off from our computer.  
  • The bunny was a free clip art created from microsoft word.  They have a fun editing app that can turn anything into a hand sketched piece…looks artistic, right?  
  • Her name was a gift from a family member when she was born. 
  •  Lastly, the plates…The pink and gold one was a gift from my late mother in law.  The green one was the only piece I paid for, and it's thrifted from Good Will!  
  • All the small frames were purchased from Ikea.  I painted one of them gold, and the two larger one's were repurposed from her nursery.

Of course every little girl needs a place to store her accessories!  Can you spot the relish holder?  That beautiful piece of silver turned white was another thrifted piece.  I wanted it to look a little less kitchen and a little more glam.  Thank goodness for spray paint.  The necklace holder I found at none other than TJ Maxx.  It was a super awesome clear acrylic, but it needed to look a little less grown up, so I grabbed the Washi Tape and wrapped it up!  Simple, cheap, and looks so posh!  The gold book was a paper mache piece from Hobby Lobby.  I spray painted it gold and wrapped it with the same Washi Tape.  It was $1.50 and is the lid opens up for more accessory storage!

When Target released their Oh Joy collection, I instantly knew I had to use something, somewhere in her room!  These are all paper flowers from that collection, and the photo? Doesn't even do them justice.  They are FAB-ulous! Did you spot another original art piece?

The large frame is from Hobby Lobby. My daughter did a photo shoot when we first set up her bed.

She loves all things glitz and glamor already, so of course I gave her my tube of lipstick and let her go crazy.  She wasn't excited at all…  ha!

And then there's this…  I found this at our local Saver's and thought it look kinda cool for a nightstand.I picked it up for $5, and most recently saw it selling on a online thrift store for $95.00! 
Here is what it looked like when I picked it up:  

Can you guess what it is?  If you guessed an old record holder, you're right!  
Of course, we have no need for records in her room, so I took the doors off and painted the inside and outside.  The paint matches the other 70's table turned glossy pink on the other side, and the legs got a matching gold finish.  I haven't quite finished the piece because I'm still debating if I'm going to put the doors back on.  I had a crazy thought to make it into a little bed for her babies.  She would be ALL over that…. so after I find the perfect accessories for the top, and figure out a concrete plan for what to do with the space inside, it will officially be all done!  

Oh, and that cute little pouf?  At Target for $7!  Now that's a great deal!

Come follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

This weekend my project is featured on these two great sites!  So much inspiration, so little time!

I party with Remodelaholic

Friday, March 28, 2014

Twelve Amazing Ikea DIY's you're going to want to try!

Looking for some inspiration to try this weekend? Look no further…..

Check out these 12 amazing Ikea Hacks from my favorite Twin Cities Mom's Contributors. 

Then come back and tell us what you've done!  

PC: Oakland Avenue

Thanks to Twin Cities Moms for featuring us today on their Blog

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Using what you have…our updated kitchen

Ahh… Where do I start?  This was the day we looked at our current home:

Really you guys.. I wonder how motivated these previous homeowners were to sell their house?  Number 1 rule: Never leave laundry on your countertops during showings.  Number 2 rule:  Clean off your countertops when trying to sell your home.  Ha!  Kidding of course, I think those may be unspoken rules, but I would think they are both common sense? Oh well, we still bought it, so obviously we saw past it.

One of my biggest pet peeves is wasted space, and no attention to details.  Ok, maybe that's two, but honestly.  Not only is there NO architectural beauty in our upper cabinets, (a little crown moulding would have been nice), but imagine how much more storage space you would have gained if you brought them to the ceiling?  I would LOVE to eventually add some details to the top of these, but that is not in the budget.  So for now, just taking the dust collectors off from the top made a huge improvement.

Here are the things we decided would be in our budget, and over the course of the next year and a half, here is what we did:

Changed out the knobs on the cabinetry. This was the EASIEST and most economical fix!  

Change out the countertops. You can't see it here, but the seams were popping up in the corners.  Sorry for the horrible picture. I snapped this shot right before my husband demo'd them, and all I had was my phone.  The sink and faucet also needed to be replaced.  It was a white, cast iron sink, and we all know what happens to that over time!

Switch the appliances in order of worst to best.  We started with the one's that NEEDED to be replaced.  The cook top was a mess. There were two burners (one of which worked) and the other was a large griddle.  Not super practical for a family of six!

I was super spoiled in our old home and had a double oven…. While this wasn't a need, it comes in super handy when entertaining. The space above the cooktop really bothered me (see above pic)... There could EASILY be a microwave there, and instead…more wasted space.

Here is a snapshot of the AFTER!  

We started with the replacing the countertops.  I knew I wanted a solid surface.  Quartz was honestly my first choice, but with a hefty price tag, we went with our second choice... concrete.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the way they look.  I do have to say, they have not been as forgiving as I had hoped, but after much more research, it looks like it may have to do with the sealer our installer used.   That, hopefully, is an easy fix!

The cooktop was expanded to a five burner, and converted over to gas.  Once you go gas, it's hard to go back.  True story.  I can't imagine cooking on an electric again! We hired a handy man to come shave a few inches off our upper cabinet so we could accommodate a microwave.  An electrician came and added a power outlet to the uppers and we frosted the glass to disguise the cords.  Would you believe me if I told you that a can of this can create the look of high end glass? No joke!

Remember the before where we had a microwave/oven combo here?  Since we moved the microwave, I could now have my DOUBLE OVENS back!!! (insert happy dance here)!!!!

The last thing we did was add a glass backsplash.  Guys, I have never been so excited about a product.  This backsplash is AWESOME.  It marries the cabinets and the countertops in perfect harmony…like they were meant to be!  Here's a pic in progress…

I went with a more industrial looking faucet, and a large stainless steel sink.  This sink is da bomb!  It is timeless and SO, SO easy to clean.  I'm a sucker for easy maintenance! 

With the concrete and stainless, I'm all about bringing in softer touches to our space.  I think the glass tile helps balance this out as well.  Lucky for me, my daughter works at a floral shop where I can get fresh flowers on a budget as often as I like!  

One last thing… When we replaced the countertops we did what should have been done in the beginning… extended them!  The space is large, and had no problem supporting a eat- in area!! (you can see the overhang from this view here). 

If I can be honest, there were several things I wanted to do with our kitchen.  Some that were in the budget, but most of them were not.  I wouldn't have chosen the cabinet color, style, or flooring, but I'm a huge fan of working with what you have, so here's a re-cap of how I made it work:
  • replaced the knobs
  • changed the appliances (including the sink and faucet)
  • replaced the countertops
  • added a overhang for a eat - in bar area
  • switched the microwave to make room for a double oven
  • replaced the lights
  • added a backsplash

 So, what do you think?  Not a major re-haul, but definitely an improvement?!  

If you want to see the entire dining space, check it out here

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Making Laundry Fun!

Today's blog post is brought to you by the letter "Y" as in laundr-Y!

Last fall, my dad bought a lake home that needed a major overhaul.  When they were tearing out the walls, they discovered the walls were lined with newspapers (a.k.a. insulation).  The home was built in 1949, so guess what?  The newspapers were dated: May 8, 1949.  Crazy cool, right?  Of course when offered some, I gladly accepted and tucked them in a safe place until I had just the right project to use them for!  

Yesterday I was wandering around our local Hobby Lobby and came across the paper mache letters seen above.  They were SUPER cheap.. around $1/piece and I instantly had a plan for the newspapers! 
I took the paper and literally wrapped them like a present around the letters.  I think I may have to put some sort of clear coat over them eventually, but for now, the letters aren't getting handled so I think they are ok.

The boys had been wanting a laundry basket in their room so they didn't have to keep coming into our bathroom to throw their clothes in the hamper.  Lucky them… I picked up this awesome wire basket from our local Junk Hunt last fall (that I was patiently waiting to find a spot for it)…If you are anywhere close to Duluth, you have to check it out.. So many great finds!!!

I had a large cloth wall hamper that I got from Ikea YEARS ago. It doesn't fit perfect, but works for now until I get a chance to sew them a new liner!  The arrow is also from Hobby Lobby.  My original vision was to do an awesome Marquee light, but with a price tag of over $200, I just couldn't justify that for a kids wall!  Picked up this arrow up for less than $20!  

To see the full room reveal, check it out here

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