Lazy Girl Crafts: Make Your Own Art

We’ve lived in our house for almost three years now, and there was a lot of work that went into getting it to where it is now. We bought an old place beside our small, but working downtown, and it is definitely not the house we walked into with our realtor anymore. The previous owners had run a business out of it, so there was glass walls, bright red paint, and concrete floors. Truth be told, we walked around a bit, sighed over not finding our house again, and moved on. But both Craig and I had felt something. Something in the backyard, something from standing beneath the big oak trees. From standing in the driveway and being able to look down the street and see the lake. From the grapefruit tree, blooming sweet. There was something to this house, and maybe we could make it work.

And we have.

I’m proud of the life we’ve built, and the work we’ve put into our house. From the wood floors Craig put down himself, to the walls he’s taken down and put up somewhere else. I’ve painted every single wall, and even the kitchen cabinets. But now here we are three years later and we’re finally making our own art for these walls.

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We found two MDF boards in the clearance cart at Home Depot and my eyes lit up, because I’d been flirting with the Scrabble tiles idea. After sketching out how to work all of our names together, we got the letter stencils and paint, also at Home Depot, and got to work.

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He may not find his name on a keychain in a tourist shop, but my son will always win the most points for that damn X.

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I had one more idea for a piece of art for our walls, and of course, it was also inspired by a post I saw on Pinterest. Putting letter stickers on a painting you found at the thrift store, painting over them and then peeling them off to reveal a revamped painting with a hipster cool quote?

And I had the perfect painting.

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I’ve been carting this thing with me for YEARS. And it’s huge, let me tell you. I found it in a thrift store when I still lived at home and I dragged it to every single apartment we lived in. We were the kids with the grandma apartment, and this was my showpiece. Over the years it got slipped into a closet, but I couldn’t get rid of it. There’s a tiny old couple walking down that nice, autumn street, and they were waiting for me to make this a showpiece again.

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So, with a beloved Parks & Rec quote in hand, I was ready to make this a forever piece. A “we’re gonna grow old with this one” piece.

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That bad boy is up on the big shelf, lording over us again. I’m proud of seventeen year-old me for picking it out, for twenty year-old me holding onto it, dragging it up another set of stairs, and for twenty-nine year-old me not being afraid to mess with it and make it completely ours.

Front Porch Stories: Hello, 2015

  1. I’m not immune to all that new year/new you talk. As much as I love Christmas, the older I get, the more I’ve looked forward to January. Maybe it’s because the weather gets so good here. Instead of snow we get crisp mornings and good breezes. The mosquitoes are a thing to worry about later and the sky is big and blue. It’s brand new calendars and planners. January is a first page, a tangible thing to grab and uncap your marker and make plans. Better ones. So, I celebrate it.
    I’ve started a #365project over on my instagram in an attempt to document the little things.

    Reading again. Kicking that slump right in the teeth. 4/365 📚 #365project

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    The quiet ones that have been redesigning me. This isn’t the year of waiting. It’s the year of writing.
    And reading.
    And making.
    It’s the year of stretching, more dancing and music, old books, Spanish and non-fiction ones, and growing. Celebrating my center, decorating it and burrowing into it. My anxieties and worries will be along for the ride, because fighting them never gets me anywhere new or good, but they can fumble around with the map while I drive.

  2. Speaking of January and new calendars and planners I bought one and am in loooooove. 2015-01-06 11.00.46
  3. I’m also doing Yoga with Adriene‘s 30 Days of Yoga.
    I stumbled upon her videos on Youtube one day and really dug it. I’ve had a yoga mat for years and it’s one of those things I always look at and give a try every couple months, because I’m an old creaky lady who feels better when I stretch. Who wants to find my place in all the noise of everything and I like the idea of doing that with my body. My about to be 30 year-old body. I want to be at peace with it, feel it move and stretch beyond this computer chair. So, I found her videos, loved how chill and relaxed she was and her Texas cool vibe. Her earlier videos even have a Shakey Graves song playing. It felt like I’d found my place to do this and she’s put together a 30 Days series and we’re into Day 6. Figuring it out with a toddler climbing all over me is right on the money for how I will rock this year.
    Here’s to that stretching thing, yeah?

The Writer Who Waited

This is where I hand you a list of what I did with the year and my scribbled, hopeful notes about the next one.

But first I have to be honest about this one.

2014 for me was the year of waiting.

Sitting alone with my manuscript at the end of 2013 I’d wished and something impossible happened. I ran after the hope as it dashed through my life, hands out, weaving incredible stories I couldn’t believe yet. Hope told me to wait for just one moment, so I ran back to grab my coat, rushed out to the garden, where I sat, on my suitcase, staring at the sky, waiting for the groan of brakes from that magic blue box.

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It didn’t come for me this year.

Oh, but how I waited. I waited and waited as I listened out for the chime of my phone, waiting for something new to be slipped into my inbox. Something new to stir and bump into the old things and wake them. See if maybe I got it right this time.

I didn’t. So I spent the year waiting.

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It’s a balance. Opening up about the process of querying literary agents, but maintaing the professional quiet. It’s a balance to put yourself out there, your name and your manuscript, and then to simply wait.

To realize you’re not ready yet. To get back notes that rock your world and step back from the arena.

I did that, too.

I didn’t get my agent this year. But I did get something else. I found other writers. And they were my blue box this year.

They’ve read and reread. They’ve listened and somehow, even after every stop and fall, they’ve believed. Always slipping me songs or shouting from the arena, never once letting me forget the orange grove I took them to.

And my captain who has been beside me since the beginning, sitting on this suitcase in the garden, holding my coat for me when I get tired of watching the sky. Telling me stories when I forget.

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But you need new fire to keep going. To keep the girl who got the guts to send that first email, enter that first contest. That girl was riding the high of creation. She’d built a ship with words and heartbreak and made up people and was watching the sea beyond the garden. She was made of stardust and ran on impossible ideas.

She was my forward momentum. Always had been, always would be.

So, I stepped back. Moved my thumb away from Twitter and made a new playlist. Built a new ship.

And in October I finished another manuscript.

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And then a window opened somewhere behind me, in a crumbling house out in a swamp and a gust of something new blew through. Rifling through pages of the old story. I went back to it, slid my finger over the words and old thoughts bumped into new ones and everyone woke up.

And here I am revising that story again. Because I’m tireless. Because that window opened unexpectedly. Because now others are waiting. I’ve got a new story and whispers of others pulling at my hair asking me to put fingers to keyboard and come explore. I’m spilling over with stardust and impossibility.

And yes, I’m waiting. And I’ll spend 2015 waiting at new turns in the road.

But I’m also writing. And believing.

And hoping with my coat close at hand.

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It’s A New Adult Christmas with Chanel Cleeton & French Kissed!

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It’s a New Adult Christmas!


Thanks for joining us as we celebrate the holidays with thirteen New Adult authors. Check out every stop leading up to December 24 to get excerpts, exclusive content, and hopefully a cutie under the mistletoe! Be sure to enter the rafflecopter to win a grand prize pack of an ebook from every author!

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It’s a New Adult Christmas with Kristine Wyllys and WILD ONES.

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It’s a New Adult Christmas!


Thanks for joining us as we celebrate the holidays with thirteen New Adult authors. Check out every stop leading up to December 24 to get excerpts, exclusive content, and hopefully a cutie under the mistletoe! Be sure to enter the rafflecopter to win a grand prize pack of an ebook from every author!


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Bri Martin likes her skirts too short, her heels too high, and trouble close at hand. So when big, brooding underground boxer Luke Turner comes into the bar where she works and starts a fight before she brings his first drink, she can’t help being intrigued. Luke is everything she never wanted and everything she can’t resist.

Soon, Luke is showing up everywhere Bri is, and she can’t break free of his hold on her, nor does she want to. When her best friend turns on her, it’s Luke who is there. When Luke’s opponent comes after her to send Luke a message, it’s he who comes to her rescue.

Before Bri knows it, she’s caught in the midst of a rivalry between her boyfriend and her boss, both of whom are not content to settle their scores inside the ring. She swore she’d never live this life, so like the one she once ran from. But only by confronting her past can she decide where her future lies…and whether Luke can be a part of it.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks


BONUS WILD ONES CHRISTMAS SCENE:

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Scrap Wood and Pioneers: Our Kitchen Table

A very long time ago, when Craig first starting showing interest in woodworking, I told him I wanted a table.

But not just any table.

I wanted a table I could build a life on. A heavy piece with scratches, scars and a story. I wanted it put together with pieces of wood that didn’t necessarily match up perfectly, but came together despite that and invited people to sit down, have coffee, study or eat dinner and carve another moment onto it.

The one only he could make. With the name he gave me carved somewhere small. I wanted that table. My pioneer table.

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Well, after all these years, and all the furniture so far, he started it.

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He’s paced around the idea of it for so long, knowing all the years of hopes that went into it for me. People need to eat, so we bought one for our first apartment and then another and they all came out of boxes and got sold at yard sales when we moved and needed the money. It didn’t hurt to sell them, because I knew they weren’t my table. For whatever reason it was the one piece I was trying to get to like a lost kid who got on the wrong bus, but is searching out the window trying to find their street. After moving from our childhood home to Florida, and then to a different city and so many apartments the ground felt a little unsteady. We got older and made babies and the idea of home was still as blurry as I was, but it was out there.

The home, the life. The table I was going to make with him.

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He brought out the chisels and started talking about dovetails and we bought three pieces of lumber while he fought the difficult wood he got off a pallet and it’s all the mixed up pieces of mostly scrap wood of my dreams. He cut and fought and looked at me worried when it didn’t line up just right and I smiled and nodded happily. The imperfections were just right. The victories and surprises. On his days off and before work he went out to his shop, working off the plan he made up and letting it come together with the pieces we had.

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First comes love, and then comes sanding.

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Next part was the staining and we’re a couple of adventurous kids setting out to try weird, cool things and so for a few days we had some steel soaking in vinegar.

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And at first, we didn’t know. It smelled weird, and weren’t sure if we should screw the top on the jar of vinegar, because there was definitely some science happening as pressure built, so it sat without a lid for a day and then with the lid for like three days and then we said, “oh shit, it’s almost Thanksgiving, we need to hurry up and finish this.”

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And then you look over and smile, because there it is.

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Our table.

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I love it so much. A table of mixed up pieces, where we can count every line and cut. It’s the kind your kids grow up at, and you grow old with, all of it happening around this one piece. And there’s magic in that. One I was totally okay with waiting for.

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We’re simple kids who delight in old, handmade things. In making things work out of sketches and bits of this or that. We’ve been been building this life and fixing this house for so long. It’s a bit of a love story.

And one hell of a table.

Lazy Girl Crafts: Burlap Wreath

At this point everybody who has been on Pinterest or inside a Cracker Barrel has seen those burlap wreaths.
And let me just tell you, I see them and I want them. For all my eclectic, thrift store and Ikea sensibilities, I walk through those crafty stores that smell like potpourri and I want everything.
I’m immediately emotionally attached to all of it.
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Give me wooden crates. Give me the throw blankets your rich Nana put out for the nice guests. Give me pine cones and I’ll find a jar for them, I swear to God. I want my family name burned onto a piece of wood and candles and bird cages with no birds.
I circled those wreaths. I pointed at them, squinted as I counted dollars in my head, and then whispered, “I’m coming for you.”
And then I hit up the dollar store. Cause you know how I do.

…Except the dollar store didn’t have what I wanted. Not for this wreath. (I did pick up some things for a different wreath, but that one is at the end of the post.)

So, I went to Walmart. And then I was back in business.PicsArt_1415933314572

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I watched this video on Youtube on how to do it, and it was pretty straight-forward, so then I turned on Netflix and watched The Office. Basically you just tug burlap through the metal in 3 part sections, twist at the back, then start again at the bottom, fluffing and pushing it together as you go.

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It was about two episodes of work. Which is how I organize most tasks.

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One of those rolls of burlap only did half a wreath. I wish I’d known this before only buying the one, but alas. Craig did go back out to get another roll. And pizza. Good man, that Craig.

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With my jar of homemade Mod Podge I made way back when I first discovered Pinterest I turned a boring H into a glittery one.

And then BOOM. Burlap wreath.

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Those flowers are from Dollar Tree. So altogether it came out to about $15 bucks. Not bad, I say. And the letter and flowers are attached with a wire so I can take them off and add something else come Christmas.

It’s my every Cracker Barrel store dream come true.

As far as the wreath I made from stuff I found at the dollar store I went with the foam circle, twine and some flowers.

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Ignore the H there seeing as how I added it to the burlap one and not really sure why it’s hanging out in this picture. This was before the pizza. I hot glued the end of the twine to the foam and then just went round and round, keeping it together so there weren’t gaps, hot gluing little spots along the way. This was about two more episodes of work.

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Not bad for a lazy girl who lusts after fancy crafts, but would usually rather hit Next Episode.