Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Toys, Toys Everywhere ... "But We Have Nothing to Play With!" :)

Welcome to my first instalment of "Kids Live Here - A Photo Journey Through the Year"! These posts will have very little writing and mostly just involve photo evidence of the kids in my life. :) We are embracing life and enjoying each other!







Monday, 21 September 2015

Coffee Stained Giant Ruler Growth Chart

I have long been wanting to make a giant ruler growth chart to hand in our house. You know the kind - it's been all over Pinterest. :) Something more permanent than the markings on the wall (and something much neater)!

After I'd been perusing Pinterest for ideas, I saw my sister-in-law had made one and I think my middle child was a baby at the time (about 4 months ... she's going to be 3 in a month). 

It was time I made one so we could clean up the bit of wall pictured above!

So, last November, when my Dad was here to help with finishing up the basement, Dad and Darran went out to get me a piece of wood to accomplish this. This wood then sat in our garage for months, until this past week, almost a year later, I finally started and finished this project.

First I sanded down the piece of wood so it was nice and smooth. It didn't need much sanding. Then I had to choose which side should be front. During the storage in the garage, a little chunk of wood got broken off one side (but I sanded that nice and smooth so it wasn't hugely noticeable) and on the other side there were some knots that were little holes. Which side do I use?? I chose the side with the knots - I figured I'd be able to measure things out so that none of the paint would end up in (and pooling in) one of the knot holes. I was right! :)  

First I drew the lines - slightly longer for the half foot mark and even longer for the foot mark. I started the ruler at 6 inches as we will be hanging it 6 inches above the floor. I drew these on with pencil, went over with a paint pain and over that with acrylic paint.

Since I was using a different method of transferring the numbers and text to the board, I decided to do that before staining. Also, I wasn't even sure I wanted to stain it yet.  I was trying various methods of transferring ink from a laser printer page to the wood. Some websites said it works best with inkjet, some said laser is better (as the ink doesn't run). Both said "just use water!" Water does NOT work on laser printer images! :) Another website said to use acetone. Nail polish remover contains acetone. I tried that and it didn't work. In frustration, I put carbon paper under my paper, traced the number and the carbon paper left a nice outline for me on the wood. This I traced with a paint pain then went over the outline and the inside with acrylic paint. This method (carbon paper tracing and then painting) was not going to work with the verse I chose to put on the board: "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" ~2 Peter 3:18. I had printed it in a fancier font and it wasn't incredibly large (as I didn't want it taking up the entire board). I knew I had to figure out this method of acetone over the laser printer print-out. So I left it for a night. I was shopping at Walmart when I noticed a store brand nail polish remover that said "100% acetone". I realized that my nail polish remover was a blend of acetone and something else. I thought I'd give this 100% acetone nail polish remover a try. It worked! So, what you do is print your text as a reflection (you have that option in the print menu). Put the sheet face down where you want it on the board. Paint over it with the acetone and then rub it with something hard (like the stick of your paint brush). This makes the text transfer very well. You may need to go over with acetone a few times. My only problem with this is that it still made the ink run. So, now I had a ruler with nice ruler markings and number but smeared text. NOT my idea of pretty. I went over the text with a paint marker twice. Then I thought, "if acetone can transfer the ink from paper to wood, maybe it can also clean up the wood a bit!" So I painted around the text with acetone and this cleaned up most of the smearing (but also made some of the paint from the paint marker run in the wood grain ... I cleaned that up too as best as I could).   Then I left it for a while. The raw pine colour was nice and natural. I was thinking I'd just leave it (even though I wasn't super impressed with the smearing in the paint of the text, nor the crooked verse reference). 


It didn't look bad, just didn't meet my standards! :) I had it here against the wall for a couple of days but just wasn't impressed with the look. It needed something more. 

I read on another blog post about staining with coffee. The person at that blog said she brewed some strong coffee and painted her wood with it. It didn't give a very dark stain, even though she went over it a few times. I thought there had to be a way to use coffee to get a darker stain. I had some decaf instant coffee in my cupboard - about a 1/4 cup of it. I dumped all of that in a mug and used my Keurig to add 4 oz of hot water. Mixed it all up, got my paint brush and went to work. Just one coat gave me a beautiful colour - just the colour I wanted! Not too dark and not too light! Certainly darker than what was shown in the other blog I read so I was quite thankful for that! 

I just love the colour! My girls thought it was hilarious that I painted with coffee. :) I'm really pleased with how it turned out. And, an added benefit of staining with the coffee, it hid a lot of the smearing from the ink of the text! Bonus!! :) 

So all that was left was coating it with a sealer. I had a bottle of spray on polyurethane sealer. Darran did most of this work (though I did the first coat). We sprayed about 3 coats on sealer on the growth chart and that seems to be sufficient. It looks good! 

The crooked text reference ("~2 Peter 3:18") still irritates me though. Also, apparently sealing brings out other flaws. You can see that the coffee stain didn't go on quite as dark in some sections down the centre length of the board. I probably could have gotten away with doing a second coat of coffee stain for this reason but I still think that flaw makes it look more natural and still kind of neat. :) I'd love to do this project again but I'd change a few things. I wouldn't do the transfer from a laser printer printed image with acetone (I'd probably stick with the carbon paper method). Also, the text would be in a different font and larger (or a mix of different fonts to make parts of the text pop more to give emphasis on things like "grace" and "knowledge"). :) But, generally, I'm quite happy with this project. Now I just need to decide where to hang it and how to hang it! 

It really pops on the dark wall where I took the pictures of it (the finished pictures) but we can't hang it there as then it would have to hang 8 inches above the floor and the ruler starts at 6 inches. :) We will find a place and I will update with a photo when it's hanging in its place. :)

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The God-Obsessed Heart (PAPA Prayer)

Finally I'm adding Chapter 4 of The PAPA Prayer here (titled Get God Before Praying to Get Things From God). It has taken far too long and guilt at the delay delayed it even longer! Funny how that works! It is here now, though I will admit that, this time around, there are far more quotes from the book and far less of my own thoughts on the chapter. But this is because there are SO many awesome quotes. Dr. Crabb's words really stick with you sometimes! Here goes ...

Petitionary prayer is the most commonly used and the most commonly abused form (or type) of prayer. It needs to be returned "to its privileged and powerful place in the lives of God's children" (p. 21, emphasis added). This chapter shows up where petitionary prayer belongs and the right and logical order for all types of prayer.

The Bible shows us five different types of prayer (aka ways to communicate with God). First there is relational prayer. This is not just a simple start your prayer with "Our Father" type of relationship. This is a deep and intimate relationship. "This is what Jesus had in mind when He told us to remain in Him, to abide in Him" (p. 21). This is turning your heart constantly to God, getting to know Him (and wanting to get to know Him) deeply, as deeply as you know your best friend, your spouse, your parents or siblings or children; no, it's getting to know Him better than you know them! It is the great obsession!  And how can we get to know Him better? Through spending much time with Him reading His word and praying!

Next we find prayers of worship and adoration. These naturally follow relational prayer. When we know God, really know Him, we want to worship Him. Yes, you can worship God in song but that is not the primary way to give prayers of worship and adoration. Worship Him with your words that flow from your relationship with Him. Pray with adoration!

Our third type of prayer is prayers of thanksgiving. When we are in relationship with God and worship Him, we desire to thank Him for His blessings BUT also thank Him for Himself! "It should be noted that only when we're first overwhelmed with who God is can we be properly thankful for what He provides" (p. 22). Sometimes things happen that we expect or want to happen and we thank God but with an attitude of 'of course that happened! That's what's God's supposed to do!' This is not a truly thankful attitude! Instead, it's an attitude of entitlement! A long, but good, quote from Dr. Larry Crabb on this type of prayer: "Efforts to worship God without first getting to know Him tend to reduce worship to mere appreciation when God cooperates with our agendas. And thanking God without true worship, without first being stunned that the holy God who has every right to abandon us instead draws us closer, leaves us still thinking that at least a few things ought to go our way. But when true worship is the spring from which gratitude flows, we take nothing for granted. The fact that anything is right in our lives becomes a cause for celebration, and we feel humble gratitude for undeserved blessings - which, of course, all of them are" (p. 22-23).  I think that, too often, we think that relational prayer and prayer of thanksgiving are all prayers of worship, and we miss out on the rich beauty that each of these three types of prayer offer us.

When we know God and are filled with worship and thanksgiving, we think of others selflessly and this is a true and right prayer of intercession, the fourth type of prayer. "The mind o fChrist takes over, and we become more concerned for others than for ourselves.  ... But if we intercede for others without attending to our own relationship with God, our intercession will have more to do with our well-being than with theirs" (p. 23, emphasis added).

Finally we come to prayers of petition. When we get the process right: know God, worship, give thanks, intercede "with other-centred love" (p 23), then petition comes from a surrendered heart. "When I want to be like Jesus more than anything else, then I pray, 'Not my will but Thine be done. Above all else, may Your kingdom come'" (p. 23). Then we are really praying in the Spirit! Then our prayers of petition are in line with God's will for our lives!

I end with one final quote from Dr. Crabb: "I do want you to first delight yourself in the Lord, to love Him with all your being, and to then ask boldly for whatever desires arise out of your God-obsessed heart. If your relationship with God is not the growing foundation for asking things of God, then petitionary prayer will become hopelessly bewildering and frustrating. If you try to get things of God without first praying to get more of God Himself, your petitions will sound more like the rantings of a spoiled brat than the requests of a dependent child" (p. 24, emphasis added).

Though it is taking me some time to get through this book, I am really enjoying it! I hope that the next chapter doesn't take as long to get through and to get my thoughts written! :)

You can view the other posts in this series here.